The Origin and Meaning of the Name Oliver

Learn all about the origin and meaning of the name Oliver. Stories, adventures, and so much more! Keep reading!
The Origin and Meaning of the Name Oliver
Samanta Ruiz

Written and verified by the teacher Samanta Ruiz.

Last update: 23 September, 2022

Are you pregnant with a boy and still don’t know what you’re going to name him? Today, we’ll tell you the origin and meaning of the name Oliver, a good option to take into account in your search.

Oliver is among the most chosen names in the United States, according to the Top 10 Social Security Names. Although it sounds very English, Oliver has different possible origins, so let’s learn more about this name!

What’s the meaning of the name Oliver?

Oliver comes from the Latin Oliverius, whose two components would be the word olive (European olea olive) and the suffix erius, which means ‘relating to’. The sum of these parts is interpreted as ‘olive grower’.

It seems that the English name Oliver and the Spanish name Oliver may have come from this combination, which is also believed to refer to ‘man blessed by the olive tree’. Its relationship with this tree, which represents peace and wisdom, makes the name Oliver very special.

Despite the above, there are other stories and meanings to tell that add even more to the uniqueness of Oliver. Do you want to know more about them? Keep reading!

The origin of the name Oliver: More interesting stories

There are different versions of the origin of the name Oliver and each one has a very interesting story.

As for the Germanic origin, it’s believed that Oliver could derive from ælfhere, an old Germanic word meaning ‘army of elves’. Elves are creatures of Norse and Germanic mythology that live in water, forests, and close to houses.

Many English names in Old Anglo-Saxon have the same prefix ælf, meaning ‘elf’. For example, Alfred comes from Ælfræd, the ‘elf-counselor’; Alvin or Elvin comes from Ælfwine, the ‘elf-friend’; Eldridge comes from Ælfric, the ‘elf-old counselor’ and Aubrey comes from Æberich, or ‘king of the elves’.

It’s also possible that Oliver originated from the Old Norse word Áleifr or óleifr, meaning ‘ancestor’ or ‘relic’. From this word also comes the name Olaf.

Finally, we can find a French origin, derived from olives, the Gallic word for ‘olives’. In addition, ancient French literature has a great character named Oliver, the rational companion of the sometimes reckless hero Roland, the protagonist of the epic poem The Song of Roland.

Do you like adventure and medieval names? Then Oliver might be just the one!

When is Oliver’s saint’s day?

If you’re thinking of naming your child Oliver, it might be a good idea to have his birthday coincide with the celebration of his saint’s day. In this case, the saint’s day is July 1st, when Saint Oliver Plunkett, Martyr of Ireland, is commemorated.

How do you say Oliver in other languages?

The diverse origins of the name Oliver are evidence of its expansion. That’s why we can find it in several languages and dialects:

  • English / Irish / French: Oliver
  • Spanish: Oliver, Oliverio
  • Italian: Oliviero
  • Portuguese: Olivio
  • Polish: Oliwer, Oliwier

Oliver is also an English surname, and in addition, it can be found in short versions used as a given name such as Ollie, Oly, and Olli.

Famous people with the name Oliver

Most of the famous people with the name Oliver belong to English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada.

  • Oliver Goldsmith, Irish physician, writer of novels and poems.
  • Oliver Heaviside, an English engineer and mathematician who introduced a new way of solving equations.
  • Oliver Norvell Hardy, American actor famous for the comedy duo Lauren and Hardy.
  • Oliver Platt, Canadian actor with a long career in American film and television.
  • Oliver Stone, former soldier, writer, and director of hit films such as Platoon and Wall Street.
  • Oliver Sykes, British singer, musician, and composer, lead singer of the metalcore band Bring Me the Horizon. He’s also the creator of Drop Dead Clothing, an alternative clothing line related to the world of video games and art.

And of course, we can’t fail to mention Oliver Twist, a fictional character in a book with the same name, written by Charles Dickens. If you’re a fan of literature or musicals, then you’re sure to be familiar with this name!

Origin and meaning of the name Oliver for curious moms

Finding a name for a baby isn’t an easy task. If you’re in this process, we encourage you to deploy your curious spirit and do non-traditional searches to expand your options.

Today, we’ve told you all about the beautiful name Oliver, whose origin and meaning you now know, but there’s so much more! Explore our site to find more alternatives with special imprints such as rare names or other names with character and history, like David or Alexander.

Start your search as soon as possible and welcome your child with his first gift on your lips: His name for life!

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