The name Oliver ranked 277th in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics and 319th in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
The prototype of this name was one of Charlemagne's knights, celebrated in the 12th-century poem Chanson de Roland.
The French source suggests the name ultimately evolved from the Latin term olivarius. However, the companions-in-arms of the original French knight in the Chanson all sported names of clearly Germanic derivation. Keeping that in mind, other possible sources include the Old German name Alfihar (host of elves) and the Old Norse name Olafr (ancestor).
Arts and Music
Words and music by Lionel Bart; title song of the Broadway musical (see list of Names in Song titles)
Oliver Cromwell (born 1599, died 1658)
British military, religious and political leader. Led the puritan forces to victory in the English Civil War, 1642-51. Executed King Charles I, but refused the crown, instead taking the title of Lord Protector.