The surname Oliver is derived from the Old French personal name Olivier. The Oliver surname (meaning "seller, or processor of olive oil") seems to be French Norman in origin. The Olivers were probably part of William the Conqueror's Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066. The Oliver family was a sept of the Scotland Highlands' powerful Fraser Clan and was a very powerful clan themselves in Roxburghshire and the Borders area. It arrived in Scotland and Ireland in the 14th century. This Old French name was introduced to Scotland and Ireland by the Normans. During the Middle Ages, it was a popular name throughout Europe. It was borne by one of Charlemagne's paladins, and friend of Roland. Ostensibly, the name is said to derive from the Latin olivarius, meaning "olive tree". However, all of Charlemagne's paladins bore Germanic names; and the Latin derivation of the name may be a result of folk etymology working on an unidentified Germanic personal name, possibly a cognate of Álvaro; or possibly distantly connected with the Old Norse Óleifr, meaning "ancestral relic".
The Catalan and (Occitan) French surname is a topographic name. It is derived from oliver (pronounced ), meaning "olive tree". It may also be related to the homonymous name listed above.
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Famous quotes containing the word etymology:
“Semantically, taste is rich and confusing, its etymology as odd and interesting as that of style. But while stylederiving from the stylus or pointed rod which Roman scribes used to make marks on wax tabletssuggests activity, taste is more passive.... Etymologically, the word we use derives from the Old French, meaning touch or feel, a sense that is preserved in the current Italian word for a keyboard, tastiera.”
—Stephen Bayley, British historian, art critic. Taste: The Story of an Idea, Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things, Random House (1991)
“The universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to express the things of the mind and spirit. The order of ideas must follow the order of things.”
—Giambattista Vico (16881744)