Oliphant Family History
Oliphant Name Meaning
English (London) and Scottish (Fife): from Old French olifard or olifant of uncertain meaning. It has been suggested that this might be a derivative of Old French olif ‘olive’ + the pejorative suffix -ard ‘derisive nickname for one who preferred an olive branch to more martial weapons’; it may have denoted a man twisted like an olive-tree. The variant Olifant may have resulted from the substitution in Old Norman French of the sequence l-r by l-n leading to a false association with Old French olifant ‘elephant’. This heraldic beast appears in the Scottish family's coats of arms. Branches of the Anglo-Norman family owned lands in both England and Scotland. The surname is now chiefly Scottish. English: possibly a topographic name from residence at an inn known as the Olyphaunt or ‘elephant’ though whether this gave rise to a hereditary surname is unknown.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press