Last 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).
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