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Why the name Oliver is so popular

Thinking about our Games with Names range, today we're taking the briefest of looks at the name Oliver.

It seems like every other child these days is named Oliver. But why? What is it about this name that has made it so popular? Here are the top ten facts about the name Oliver that might give you some insight.

1. The name Oliver is of Latin origin and means "olive tree." This might be one reason why it's become such a popular choice for baby names; olive trees are strong and resilient, two qualities we want our children to have.
2. The name Oliver was actually quite popular in the Middle Ages, but it fell out of favour during the Renaissance. It wasn't until the 19th century that it began to regain popularity.
3. One famous bearer of the name Oliver is Oliver Twist, the protagonist of Charles Dickens' novel of the same name. Published in 1838, the book helped increase the popularity of the name Oliver.
4. There have been several saints named Oliver, including Saint Oliver Plunkett and Saint Oliver Platt.
5. In more recent years, there have been several fictional characters named Oliver, including Harry Potter's friend Oliver Wood and Green Arrow's sidekick Connor Hawke, who took on the alias "Oliver Queen" after his father died.
6. Song titles featuring the name Oliver include “Oliver’s Army” by Elvis Costello, “Oliver, Oliver” from the musical Oliver! and “Oliver” by Kara’s Flowers
8., In 1760 Oliver Goldsmith published a series of ‘Letters from a Chinese Philosopher’, supposedly sent by a Chinese traveller in England by the name of Lien Chi Altanghi,. In truth they were actually written by a certain Oliver Goldsmith. Who would pretend to be called Lien when you've got a great name like Oliver ?
9. Nicknames for Oliver include Ollie, Olly and Ols.
10. Celebrity Olivers include Oliver Cheshire (Model), Oliver North (Soldier/ Politician), Oliver Riedel (Musician) and Oliver Stone (Movie Director).

So there you have it! The ten top facts about the name Oliver. And for every other imaginable Oliver fact, please check out our unique Oliver Game here.