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Olivia


Gender: Feminine
Language
: English

Etymology:
Olivia is usually taken from a Latin word which meant “Olive.”

History:
The name Olivia in its modern spelling of O-l-i-v-i-a was apparently coined by William Shakespeare in his 1599 play Twelfth Night. Shakespeare was inordinately fond of Italian names, and he may have been meant the name Olivia as another form of the name Oliva.

The name Oliva belonged to the early saint, St. Oliva, whose name means “olive.”

As a saintly name, Oliva was fairly rare, but present, throughout Christian Europe. In England the name became Oliff, or Olive. Olive died out in England in the 16th century, after the Reformation caused many saints’ names to be abandoned. Olive was revived in the late 19th century, as a plant name.

Meanwhile, Shakespeare, with his aforementioned fondness for Italian names, bestowed the name Olivia upon the heroine of Twelfth Night. By the 18th century Olivia was a romantic, literary name. The two daughters in the 1761 novel The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith were named Olivia and Sophia and their father laments “we had two romantic names in the family; but I solemnly protest I had no hand in it.” About the same time, Latin names and Latinate names were becoming popular and Olivia joined the ranks of the Maria, Lucia, Louisa, Anna, Cecilia, Julia, Diana, Sophia etc.

The name Olivia continued in use until modern times. It was a common name, but not popular until the late 20th century.

Pronunciation: oh-LIV-ee-ah.

Diminutives: Liv, Livia, Libby, Livy, Livvy, Olly, Olivet, Ollie.

Alternates: Oliva, Olive, Oliff.
Hawaiian: Oliwa.

Masculine: OIiver.

Famous Bearers:
Educators, Scholars, and Social Workers:
Olivia Manning (1911-1980)
British journalist.

Fictional Characters:
Olivia (1601-1602)
From William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1601-1602).

Singers and Entertainers:
Olivia de Havilland (1916-)
American actress.

Popularity:
Percentage from the 1990 U.S. Census:
0.049 % named Olivia
0.030 % named Olive
0.003 % named Oliva
0.002 % named Livia

Popularity of Olivia:
Popularity (for newborns):
In the United States...
1850: 255th most popular.
1875: 226th most popular.
1880: 233rd most popular.
1881: 213th most popular.
1882: 239th most popular.
1883: 268th most popular.
1884: 266th most popular.
1885: 259th most popular.
1886: 241st most popular.
1887: 252nd most popular.
1888: 276th most popular.
1889: 233rd most popular.
1890: 270th most popular.
1891: 310th most popular.
1892: 264th most popular.
1893: 256th most popular.
1894: 237th most popular.
1895: 261st most popular.
1896: 267th most popular.
1897: 245th most popular.
1898: 251st most popular.
1899: 273rd most popular.
1900: 250th most popular.
1901: 257th most popular.
1902: 273rd most popular.
1903: 272nd most popular.
1904: 250th most popular.
1905: 265th most popular.
1906: 241st most popular.
1907: 262nd most popular.
1908: 262nd most popular.
1909: 268th most popular.
1910: 266th most popular.
1911: 282nd most popular.
1912: 264th most popular.
1913: 277th most popular.
1914: 285th most popular.
1915: 303rd most popular.
1916: 283rd most popular.
1917: 281st most popular.
1918: 294th most popular.
1919: 296th most popular.
1920: 285th most popular.
1921: 293rd most popular.
1922: 280th most popular.
1923: 281st most popular.
1924: 299th most popular.
1925: 293rd most popular.
1926: 307th most popular.
1927: 299th most popular.
1928: 312th most popular.
1929: 312th most popular.
1930: 327th most popular.
1931: 327th most popular.
1932: 317th most popular.
1933: 326th most popular.
1934: 331st most popular.
1935: 331st most popular.
1936: 311th most popular.
1937: 312th most popular.
1938: 298th most popular.
1939: 295th most popular.
1940: 269th most popular.
1941: 264th most popular.
1942: 252nd most popular.
1943: 269th most popular.
1944: 246th most popular.
1945: 277th most popular.
1946: 268th most popular.
1947: 254th most popular.
1948: 260th most popular.
1949: 264th most popular.
1950: 277th most popular.
1951: 304th most popular.
1952: 304th most popular.
1953: 334th most popular.
1954: 332nd most popular.
1955: 354th most popular.
1956: 385th most popular.
1957: 406th most popular.
1958: 387th most popular.
1959: 433rd most popular.
1960: 443rd most popular.
1961: 467th most popular.
1962: 465th most popular.
1963: 460th most popular.
1964: 468th most popular.
1965: 457th most popular.
1966: 516th most popular.
1967: 512th most popular.
1968: 527th most popular.
1969: 528th most popular.
1970: 542nd most popular.
1971: 553rd most popular.
1972: 507th most popular.
1973: 492nd most popular.
1974: 401st most popular.
1975: 232nd most popular.
1976: 196th most popular.
1977: 225th most popular.
1978: 200th most popular.
1979: 210th most popular.
1980: 230th most popular.
1981: 245th most popular.
1982: 228th most popular.
1983: 229th most popular.
1984: 222nd most popular.
1985: 248th most popular.
1986: 215th most popular.
1987: 166th most popular.
1988: 134th most popular.
1989: 123rd most popular.
1990: 74th most popular.
1991: 62nd most popular.
1992: 57th most popular.
1993: 50th most popular.
1994: 50th most popular.
1995: 39th most popular.
1996: 35th most popular.
1997: 27th most popular.
1998: 22nd most popular.
1999: 20th most popular.
2000: 16th most popular.
2001: 11th most popular.
2002: 10th most popular.
2003: 5th most popular.
2004: 4th most popular.

In France...
1900-1960: N/A
1965: 198th most popular.
1970: 105th most popular.
1980: 91st most popular.
1990: 132nd most popular.
2000: 105th most popular.

In Ireland...
1998: 83rd most popular.
1999: 42nd most popular.
2000: 51st most popular.
2001: 61st most popular.
2002: 72nd most popular.
2003: 73rd most popular.

Selected Sources:
The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, Withycombe, 1977, 3rd ed.
A Dictionary of First Names, Hanks and Hodges, 1990
The Penguin Dictionary of First Names, Pickering, 1999
The Academy of St. Gabriel (www.s-gabriel.org) - For information on medieval names.

The Social Security Administration Actuarial Note 139 (www.ssa.gov) - For popularity stats 1880-Present
The 1880 U.S. Census- For popularity stats 1850-1880, and other information (it is available on-line at www.familysearch.org)


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