Gender Feminine
Pronounced Pron. o-LIV-ee-ə(English)
o-LEE-vya(Italian, German)
o-LEE-bya(Spanish)
AW-LEE-VYA(French)
O-lee-vee-ah(Finnish)
  [key·IPA]

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 [1] 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. Its rise in popularity in the 1970s may have been inspired by a character on the television series The Waltons (1972-1982) [2] or the singer Olivia Newton-John (1948-). In 1989 it was borne by a young character on The Cosby Show, which likely accelerated its growth. It reached the top rank in England and Wales by 2008 and in the United States by 2019.

A famous bearer was the British-American actress Olivia de Havilland (1916-1920).

Related Names

VariantsAlivia, Olyvia(English)
DiminutivesLiv, Livia, Livvy, Livy, Ollie(English) Viivi(Finnish) Vivi(Swedish) Vivi(Norwegian) Vivi(Danish)
Other Languages & CulturesOlivie(Czech) Olívia(Hungarian) Oliwia(Polish) Olívia(Portuguese) Olívia(Slovak)
Same SpellingOlívia
User SubmissionÓlivía

Images

Depiction of Olivia from Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night', by artist Charles Robert Leslie (1876)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  

Name Days

Estonia: April 16
Finland: May 29
France: March 5
Spain: February 3
Spain: June 10
Sweden: April 15

Categories

2000s, 2010s, A Series of Unfortunate Events characters, ancestors, Animal Crossing characters, Aphra Behn 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, Fringe characters, fruits, House of Cards US characters, human Sesame Street characters, JESC names, Kim Possible characters, Minecraft Story Mode characters, movies, nature, Never Have I Ever characters, never out of the US top 1000, Nintendo characters, Overwatch characters, plants, Pokemon characters, pop music, pop singers, rock musicians, Rule of Rose characters, RuPauls Drag Race contestants, Sex Education characters, Shakespearean characters, Sims 4 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 England, top 10 in Hawaii, top 10 in Malta, 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, Two and a Half Men characters, uncertain etymology, Violet Evergarden characters, Virtua Tennis opponent characters, war, warrior, warriors, Westworld characters, Will and Grace characters

Sources & References

  1. 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.
  2. Evans, Cleveland Kent. The Great Big Book of Baby Names. Publications International, 2006, page 539.

Entry updated April 5, 2022