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Scriptsאֲבִיגַיִל Ancient Hebrew
PronouncedPron.AB-ə-gayl English
A-bee-giel German

Meaning & History

From the Hebrew name אֲבִיגָיִל ('Avigayil) meaning "my father is joy", derived from the roots אָב ('av) meaning "father" and גִּיל (gil) meaning "joy". In the Old Testament this is the name of Nabal's wife. After Nabal's death she became the third wife of King David.

As an English name, Abigail first became common after the Protestant Reformation, and it was popular among the Puritans. The biblical Abigil refers to herself as a servant, and beginning in the 17th century the name became a slang term for a servant, especially after the release of the play 'The Scornful Lady' (1616) which featured a character named Abigail. The name went out of fashion at that point, but it was revived in the 20th century.
VariantsAbigayle, Abegail English
DiminutivesAbbey, Abbi, Abbie, Abby, Gail, Gale, Gayla, Gayle, Gaila English
Other Languages & CulturesAbigaia Biblical Greek 'Avigayil Biblical Hebrew Apikalia Hawaiian Avigail Hebrew Abigél Hungarian Abi Scottish Abigaíl Spanish
Same SpellingAbigaíl
User SubmissionAbigaïl


David and Abigail by Antonio MolinariDavid and Abigail by Antonio Molinari


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Entry updated May 31, 2018   Contribute