name, first used by Shakespeare for the rich heiress wooed by the duke in Twelfth Night ( 1599 ). Shakespeare may have taken it as a feminine form of Oliver or he may have derived it from Latin oliva ‘olive’. In the 1970s it was particularly associated with the Australian pop singer and actress Olivia Newton-John ( b. 1948 ). Since the 1990s it has been very popular throughout the English-speaking world.
Dictionary of First Names © Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges 1990, 2003, 2006.