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Origin of the name ABIGAIL.
Etymology of the name ABIGAIL.
Meaning of the baby name ABIGAIL.


ABIGAIL.  Biblical.  [Hebrew Abhighail = "father of exultation"; abi = "father," and gail = "exultation," from gil = "to rejoice"].

    (1) The wife of Nabal.  She was "a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance," and on the death of her first husband became one of David's wives (1 Sam. xxv. 3, 14-44; xxvii. 3; 2 Sam. ii. 2).  When the Amalekites captured Ziklag they took her captive, but she was rescued by her husband after he had defeated the enemy (xxx. 5, 18).  She bore to him a son called Chileab (2 Sam. iii. 3). 
    (2) David's second sister.  She married Ithra or Jether, an Israelite or Ishmaelite, and had a son Amasa (2 Sam. xvii. 25; 1 Chron. ii. 16, 17). (The Sunday School Teacher's Bible Manual, Hunter, 1894).

    Some say that Abigail is the English form of Gobnata; while the Irish call Abigail Gobnait , Gobnit, Gobinet, and Gobnata. (Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, White, v.3, 1897).

     The name strikes us as inappropriate to a woman, till we remember that the eastern nations use this expression for an abstract quality, and that the title would stand for "joyfulness."  Her ready courtesy to David seems to have recommended her to the earliest readers of the English Bible, for Abigail occurs in registers as early as 1573, and was for many years very frequent.
     Abigail Masham's back-stair influence over Queen Anne has been generally supposed to have rendered it a soubriquet for a lady's maid; but Mr. Bardsley, in his Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature, shows it to have been the name of the waiting gentlewoman in Beaumont's Comedy, The Scornful Ladie, played in 1616.  And in a play of Killigrew's, some thirty years later, the term 'Abigail' is used for a waiting-maid, when the back-stair influence and supposed arts of Abigail Masham in the bedchamber of Queen Anne gave it a sudden fall.  Abigail turned into a cant term for a lady's maid, and thenceforth has been seldom heard even in a cottage. (History of Christian Names, Yonge, 1884).


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