Oliver, Olivier

Gender: Masculine
Origin: debated
Meaning: debated
Eng (AHL-ih-VER); Fre (oh-LEE-vyay)

This name has a very interesting past. Its origins and meaning are debated, despite its obvious similarity with the word “olive”, many sources believe that is is either derived from one or two Old Norse names, Alfihar or OleifrAlfihar meaning “elf army” or Oleifr meaning “ancestral relic,” while other sources argue that it is indeed related to the Latin word oliverus meaning “olive tree.”

The name first appears in the French epic poem, Le Chanson de Roland. Olivier is the one of the better retainers of Roland. The name was introduced into England by the Normans and was consequently anglicized as Oliver.

The name has been in and out of usage in the English-speaking world since the Middle Ages. There was a time in England when the name went out of favor due to the bloody exploits of Oliver Cromwell. It was revived in the 19th-century due to Dicken’s lovable orphaned character of Oliver Twist.

In recent years, the name has seemed to go through a revival in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1979, Oliver ranked in at # 396 for the most popular male names in the United States, in 2010, however, he cracked into the top 100, making it all the way up to # 88. No doubt thanks to the popularity of its seemingly feminine form of Olivia.

As of 2010, he was the most popular male name in England/Wales. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 3 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 6 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 7 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 8 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 9 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 10 (Finland, 2011)
  • # 12 (Ólafur, Iceland, 2010)
  • # 16 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 23 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 25 (Oliwier, Poland, 2009)
  • # 38 (Olivér, Hungary, 2010)
  • # 48 (Óliver, Iceland, 2010)
  • # 51 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 52 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 55 (Olivier, Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 86 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 269 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 305 (Olivier, France, 2009)

The name is used throughout continental Europe. Its French form of Olivier is still fairly common in France and it is occassionally found in the Bayous of Louisiana among Cajun families, along with its lovely accented drawled out pronunciation of (oh-LIV-ee-AY).

In Poland it is rendered as Oliwer pronounced the same way as in English though the final R is rolled. In Iceland the popular male name of Olafur may be related. Pronounced (OH-lahf-ER), it has a feminine form of Olafia (OH-lah-FEE-ah).

Popular English nicknames are Ollie and the less common Noll.

Its designated name day is July 12.

Other forms include:

  • Olivier (Afrikaans/Dutch/French/Frisian)
  • Oliver Оливер (Croatian/Czech/Dutch/English/Estonian/Finnish/German/Hungarian/Macedonian/Portuguese/Russian/Serbian/Slovak/Spanish)
  • Fier (Dutch: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Oluvier (Dutch)
  • Olivur (Faroese)
  • Ólivar (Faroese)
  • Olivér (Hungarian)
  • Ólafur (Icelandic)
  • Óliver (Icelandic)
  • Ólíver (Icelandic)
  • Oilibhéar (Irish)
  • Oliviero (Italian)
  • Olivarius/Oliverus (Latin)
  • Alfher (Old High German)
  • Áleifr (Old Norse)
  • Oliwer/Oliwier (Polish)
  • Oliwir/Olwer/Olwir (Polish: obscure)
  • Oliveiros (Portuguese)
  • Olaghair (Scottish)
  • Oilbhreis (Scottish)

Dunja

quinceGender: Feminine
Origin: South Slavic Дуња
Meaning: “quince fruit.”
(DOON-yah)

The name comes directly from the South Slavic word for the quince fruit. The quince is usually ready to fall from its stems from early October all the way to November, it is considered an autumnal fruit.

Coincidentally, the name could also be a Russian diminutive form of Avdotya which is a Russian form of the Greek name Eudoxia meaning “good fame.”  The spelling is also sometimes transliterated as Dunya.

As of 2009, Dunja was the 97th most popular female name in Croatia.

The name is borne by Russian violinist Dunja (Avdotya) Lavrova (b.1985).

Mitsuaki

bright-autumn_streetGender: Masculine
Origin: Japanese
Meaning: “bright fruit; shining autumn.”

The name has different meaning depending on the character used, which for this particular name, I will provide in the near future. In Japanese, selection of different characters are instrumental in defining a name. One name can mean a variety of different things depending on the way you write it. Japanese names are extremely complex. In this case, Mitsuaki, a fairly prevalent Japanese male name, can either be composed of the Japanese elements mitsu meaning “fruit or truth” or the honomym mitsu meaning : “shine; light.”  Aki is another element that can mean a few things, it can either mean “autumn” or “bright, light”.

The name is borne by Mitsuaki Hoshino (b. 1959) a Japanese actor and Mitsuaki Madono (b.1964) a Japanese voice actor.

Narineh

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Armenian
Meaning: “pomegranate; fire.”
(nah-REE-neh).

The name is either an elaboration of the Armenian word nar which is a borrowing from the Persian meaning “pomegranate” or an elaboration of an Arabic name meaning “fire.”

Bakhchinar

pomegranate-garden5Gender: Feminine
Origin: Persian/Armenian
Meaning: “pomegranate garden.”

The name is composed of the old Persian elements bakhca meaning garden and nar meaning “pomegranate.” The name is also used in Armenia.

Anara

pomegranate-openGender: Feminine
Origin: Kazakh
Meaning: “pomegranate”
(uh-NAH-ruh)

The name come directly from the Kazakh word for the pomegranate. It is a fairly common name in Central Asia, and has even made it over to Pakistan. Other forms include Anar, Anargul, Lunara and the very popular Gulnara, the latter meaning “pomegranate flower.” Pomegranate season occurs in the months of Fall.

Višnja

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Serbo-Croat
Meaning: “cherry.”
(VEESH-nyah)

As summer comes to a close, I almost forgot to post about this lovely gem. Find Cherry too tacky as a given name? Then why not this Balkan beauty. The name comes directly from the South Slavic word for the cherry, and it a fairly common name in the former Yugoslav Republic. In Slovenia, its the name of a mountain Gora Visnja, known as Weichselburg in German.

Maasika

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian
Meaning: “strawberry.”
(MAH-sih-kah).

The name comes directly from the Estonian word for the Strawberry. Summer is strawberry season and today also happens to be Maasika’s name-day.

Maasika is a legit feminine name in Estonia, and if you want something natury and fruity, this might be a nice nod without it sounding too ridiculous.

It even appears on the Estonian calender, its designated name day is July 27.