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Updated May 1, 2024

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Boy name origins & meanings


What does Oliver mean and stand for?


  • English: Descendant of the Ancestor
  • Old Norse: Kind one
  • Latin: Olive tree
  • French: Peace

Gender: Male

Syllables: 3

Pronunciation: The name Oliver is pronounced ol-i-ver

Oliver is originally derived from the Latin word olivarius meaning olive tree planter. It also has roots tracing back to the Old Norse name "Óleifr", which itself comes from the elements "ancestral" + "heir," signifying the bearer as a descendant of ancestors. It also has Old French and Medieval origins. The name was originally introduced by the Normans to England. The name was popularized again in the 19th century by Dickens' Oliver Twist

Boy name variations

How Popular Is The Name Oliver

Family name origins & meanings


English, Scottish, Welsh, and German: from the Old French personal name Olivier, which was taken to England by the Normans from France. It was popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages as having been borne by one of Charlemagne's paladins, the faithful friend of Roland, about whose exploits there were many popular romances. The name ostensibly means "olive tree" (see Oliveira), but this is almost certainly the result of folk etymology working on an unidentified Germanic personal name, perhaps a cognate of Alvaro. The surname is also borne by Jews, apparently as an adoption of the non-Jewish surname.

Catalan and southern French (Occitan): generally a topographic name from oliver "olive tree", but in some instances possibly related to the homonymous personal name (see 1 above).


Famous people with this first name

Oliver in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share this first name?

  • Oliver Queen from Arrow - A billionaire playboy who becomes the vigilante archer, Green Arrow.
  • Oliver Twist from Oliver Twist - The orphan boy protagonist in Charles Dickens' novel, known for asking for more gruel.
  • Oliver Wood from Harry Potter series - The Quidditch captain of the Gryffindor team.
  • Oliver Valentine from Holby City - A dedicated and talented cardiothoracic registrar.
  • Oliver Oken from Hannah Montana - Best friend to Miley Stewart and Lilly Truscott, known for his comedic relief.

Popularity of the Name Oliver

According to Social Security Administration data, Oliver has significantly risen in popularity over the last decade, breaking into the top 10 in recent years. It was ranked as the 3rd most popular boys' name in the United States in 2020. The name Oliver is not just popular in the US but also enjoys high rankings in other English-speaking countries, including the UK and Australia.

Historical figures like Oliver Cromwell and Oliver Goldsmith helped establish the use of the first name Oliver, while actors like Oliver Platt and Oliver Reed have kept the name popular in modern times. It began to rise in popularity again in the 19th century thanks to Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Today it is more popular than ever thanks to pop culture, particularly a character in Harry Potter, and comedian John Oliver. In addition to the characters in media, the name appears in other media titles such as Oliver & Company and The O.C.

Where Is the Name Oliver popular?

This name is most popular across certain states in the U.S., including those highlighted on the map below.

Nicknames for Oliver

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Lev
  • Levi
  • Ollie

Oliver Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Looking for a middle name that fits perfectly? Consider these!

Appears On

Browse these related baby name lists that feature this name and many, many more!

People Who Like the Name Oliver Also Like

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