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Olive (f) The name of the olive tree has been used for
centuries as a personal name. It became fashionable in
Britain when botanical names were popular towards the end of the nineteenth century. In Scotland the name was
reasonably well used until 1925. It was still in 83rd position in 1935, but subsequently it dropped out of use. The Italian form Olivia is sometimes used. Mrs Craik, in her novel Olive, went to some lengths to explain why her central character bore such a ‘strange, heathen name,’ as the servant describes it. Olive’s mother is supposed to have had a dream or vision in which an angel-child extended an olive branch to her in moments of peril. Olive, of course, does have this symbolic association with ‘peace,’ so that it could be considered as a synonym of Irene.

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