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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of
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Meaning of a Name
Olivia’s True Meaning

Hello Babynames!

My name is Olivia Marie and I love your website. I do not have children but I have a very lengthy baby name list saved for when the time comes. I think there is so much in a name; I was that girl picking names out when I was 8 years old! That list has changed since then but one name I have always loved is my own name, Olivia. As much as I love your website, I am a bit troubled by the meaning you have for the name Olivia. I must tell you that you are the only website out of many that has it listed as ‘Elf Army’. I am curious where that came from? Every book that I have looked in and every other website has the correct meaning which is ‘Olive’ or ‘Olive tree’. Before I sent this email I did some digging to find out it’s origin and to refresh myself on what the Olive tree symbolizes. The Olive tree symbolizes dignity, peace, purity, and strength among other things.

I am aware that your meaning is not deterring people from naming their child Olivia since it is among the most popular. However, I do think that you should have the correct meaning since you are such a popular site. When I type in ‘baby names’ in Google yours comes up first. There are pretty names that have unattractive meanings but Olivia is not one of them. A name is more than just what we sign on paperwork or how others identify us. It is a identity in itself. It is what we are wrapped in, what we grow into. It is multiple parts of someone; their culture, personality, respectability, and so much more.

For this reason would you please consider correcting the meaning of the name Olivia on your website? Thanks so much! Now back to my list… 😉

Hi Olivia,elves

We get at least one message about Oliver/Olivia each month. :) We’ve done extensive research on this name and found that most sources credit this name incorrectly because it has the same sound and letters as “olive.” But the truth is that Olivia is the feminine form of OLIVER/OLIVIER, which most likely originated from the German name “Alfher” rather than the word “olive.” The name Alfher is  composed of the Germanic elements ALF (elf) and HARI (army/warrior).

Yes, now these names are widely associated with “Olive Tree” but that was not its original meaning. Unfortunately many of the baby name books and sites just propagate bad information instead of doing their research! We have two international name experts that research all our names and meanings.


Matching Meanings

Hi Jennifer,

Your site has been my most visited site recently.

My wife and I are expecting a baby boy this fall (first child). However we got into a bit of confusion over a name we initially chosen. The name is Jayson Dallas Teo. We have chosen Jayson because he can be called Jay, for short. We like the middle name Dallas because it sounds like it’s for a sharp and witty person.

We recently have done a research on the meaning of the name and they don’t quite match up. Jayson (Jason)=a healer, and Dallas = a meadow dwelling. We need your advice to this matter. I look forward to your reply soon. Thanks :)

Ern & MM

Dear Ern & MM,
It makes no difference whether the meanings “match up” or not for the first and middle name of the child. As long as you and your partner agree on the names and love them, they can be used!

Remember, a child rarely goes by his or her middle name–unless they are in trouble!

Hope that helps.

Jennifer Moss

Author Name: Claribel

Hi Jennifer,

I just found out that I am expecting and my first reaction was to check out your website. I have a whole collection of names that I have saved in the back of my diaries and I am super excited to finally be able name someone other then my puppies and the characters I develop in my short stories. Over the years I have found your website very helpful compiling this list. Thanks for your hard work and dedication.

I have a quick questions: have you ever heard of the name Claribel? My favourite Latin American writer is Claribel Alegria. I noticed it is not in your database. What are your thoughts on this name?

Elizabeth A., Belize

Dear Elizabeth,

Claribel is an alternate spelling of the name Clarabelle, a combination of the names Clara (Illustrious) and Belle (Beautiful).

You are very welcome for my hard work and dedication! I love names and love that you are using the site for your pets and fictional characters.



First and Middle: Same Meaning
I have always liked the name Joshua for a son. In my family, we have a tradition of using the middle name Salvatore. My dilemma is Joshua means “God is salvation” and Salvatore means “savior.” Would it be silly to use this combination?
Jarrett A.
Hi Jarrett,
I think using Joshua and Salvatore together is perfectly fine.  Not many people know the meaning of a name when they meet a person so it won’t be shocking or silly.
The name Levron
Hi Jennifer!

My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Levron and I was wondering if you may have information about it. Could it be French? I know her family has ties with France.


Hi Laura,

Levron is originally a French surname, which is geographical for a family from Vron, France. Vron is a small village in the Picardy region in the north of the country. I couldn’t quite discern what the name is from, but it may be related to Verona, which means “Truth.”

Hail to the Elf Armies!
Hi Jennifer,
I was wondering what the name Alpherie meant. It was my grandfather’s name, and it’s not on your site. Do you know anything about it?
Dear Jean,
As far as I can tell from my research, Alpherie is a French derivative of the German name ALFHER or more modern name OLIVER. It literally translates to “elf army” with alf meaning “elf” and “hari” meaning “army.”
Contrary to what most people believe–and other sites misstate–the names Oliver and Olivia do not mean “from the olive tree/branch.” They are both derivatives of this same name and meaning!
Hail to the Elf Armies!


Meaning of the name Chainie

Hi Jennifer,

My husband’s cousin’s name is ‘Chainie’. I have never heard of this name before until I met her. As far as I know this is not a nickname and is her actual first name. I could not find it on your website so I was wondering if you could shed some light on her name’s origin and/or meaning.

Thank you,


Dear Kaitlyn,

Sometimes you just have to sound it out!  Chainie is an alternate spelling of the surname Cheney.  (Remember, our Vice President under G.W. Bush?)

According to the Surname Database, the surname Cheney is from the Old French words “chesne, chesnai” meaning oak tree, oak grove. It is most likely a geographical surname, indicating that the family comes from a certain area of that name or where the oak trees grow.


Meaning of the name Siler?

Hi Jennifer,

I tried looking up info on my son’s name, Siler Everette, but only found Syler (assuming that is the same name kust a different spelling? ??) What are the origins & meanings of his name? And can you add them to the site. Thanks so much!

Trisha V.

Hi Trisha,

Most likely it is a variation of the name Syler, which is either a combination of Sy and Tyler or a variation on the English name Schuyler. Schuyler is pronounced like Skylar.

Hope that helps…