masc. proper name, from French, from Old High German Hrodland, literally "(having a) famous land," from hrod- "fame, glory" (from Proto-Germanic *hrothi-) + land (see land (n.)). The name of the legendary nephew of Charlemagne, celebrated in "Chanson de Roland" (c. 1300) and suchlike romances. His comrade was Oliver, hence a Roland for an Oliver (1610s) in expressions meaning "to give as good as one gets, tit for tat."
updated on September 12, 2021