Latinate 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.
English and Scottish: patronymic from the personal name John. As an American family name, Johnson has absorbed patronymics and many other derivatives of this name in continental European languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.)