Meaning & History
This name was used in this spelling by William Shakespeare for a character in his comedy Twelfth Night (1602). This was a rare name in Shakespeare's time  that may have been based on Oliva or Oliver, or directly from the Latin word oliva meaning "olive". In the play Olivia is a noblewoman who is wooed by Duke Orsino but instead falls in love with his messenger Cesario.Olivia has been used in the English-speaking world since the 18th century, though it did not become overly popular until the last half of the 20th century. It reached the top rank in England and Wales by 2008 and was ranked second in the United States by 2014. Its rise in popularity was ultimately precipitated by a character on the 1970s television series The Waltons, later reinforced by characters on other television shows .
Depiction of Olivia from Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', by artist Charles Robert Leslie (1876)
People think this name is
classic formal upper class natural wholesome refined serious nerdy
2000s, 2010s, A Series of Unfortunate Events characters, ancestors, Animal Crossing characters, army, Code Geass characters, Deadly Premonition characters, defence, Disney characters, Dragon Quest characters, elven folk, elves, feminine forms, Fire Emblem characters, Flipline Studios characters, flora, food, fruits, House of Cards US characters, Minecraft Story Mode characters, movies, nature, never out of the US top 1000, Nintendo characters, Overwatch characters, plants, Pokemon characters, Rule of Rose characters, RuPauls Drag Race contestants, Shakespearean characters, Stephen King characters, The Haunting characters, The Sopranos characters, The Walking Dead characters, top 10 in Australia, top 10 in Belgium, top 10 in Canada, top 10 in Cornwall, top 10 in Hawaii, top 10 in New Zealand, top 10 in Northern Ireland, top 10 in Norway, top 10 in Quebec, top 10 in Scotland, top 10 in Sweden, top 10 in the UK, top 10 in the US, top 10 in Wales, trees, TV show titles, uncertain etymology, Violet Evergarden characters, Virtua Tennis opponent characters, war, warrior, warriors, Westworld characters, Will and Grace characters
Sources & References
- Uckelman, Sara L. "Names Shakespeare Didn't Invent: Imogen, Olivia, and Viola Revisited." Names: A Jornal of Onomastics, vol. 67, no. 3, Sep. 2019, page 155.
- Evans, Cleveland Kent. The Great Big Book of Baby Names. Publications International, 2006, page 539.
Entry updated November 20, 2020