"my father is joyful"

Abigail Origin and Meaning

The name Abigail is a girl's name of Hebrew origin meaning "my father is joyful".

Abigail has been in for so long -- the name has ranked in the US Top 100 since the late 1980s -- it's amazing that it isn't more out by now. But Abigail's biblical and historic roots make it a fashionable classic rather than a passing fad.

The name Abigail comes from the Hebrew name Avigail and is derived from the Hebrew elements ab, meaning "father," and g-y-l, meaning "to rejoice." In the Old Testament, Abigail was the wife of David, said to be beautiful, wise, and prophetic.

Abigail was well-used for centuries but In the early 1800s, abigail became a slang term for a lady's maid, which led to a fall from favor. It was well on its way down by the time the US Social Security office began keeping records on baby name popularity in 1880, and by the early 1900s fell off the Top 1000 completely.

Abigail's resurgence was tied to the rediscovery of many old biblical names starting in the 1960s. Abigail was in the first wave of the Old Testament names that were revived then, including Hannah, Rebecca, and Rachel for girls, Joshua, Aaron, and Benjamin for boys.

Abigail has been the name of two of our First Ladies—three, if you count the character on The West Wing—and Abby has been the name of a host of television and movie characters in everything from Mad Men to The Lovely Bones.

If you like Abigail but want something fresher, you may consider such other biblical choices as Lydia and Priscilla or names popular in Revolutionary Era America that have been neglected in recent years, such as Susannah and Hester.

# 31 in the US

Abigail Rank in US Top 1000

# 151 on Nameberry

Abigail Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Abigail Popularity

Famous People Named Abigail

  • Abigailsister of King David (1 Chr. 2:16)
  • Abigail AdamsU.S. First Lady as wife of 2nd President John Adams
  • Abigail "Nabby" Adams Smithdaughter of Abigail and John Adams
  • Abigail Powers FillmoreU.S. First Lady as wife of President Millard Fillmore
  • Abigail Van Burenpen name of Pauline and Jeanne Phillips, American advice columnists of "Dear Abby"
  • Abigail Kathleen BreslinAmerican actress
  • Abigail SavageAmerican actress
  • Abigail RichAmerican model and actress
  • Abigail Michal SpearsAmerican tennis player
  • Abigail Anne FolgerAmerican socialite and volunteer
  • Abigail LaneEnglish visual artist
  • Abigail Leigh SpencerAmerican actress
  • Abigail Williamsaccuser in the 1692 Salem witch trials
  • Abigail "Gayle" ZsigaEnglish electronic musician
  • Mary Abigail "Abby" WambachAmerican soccer player
  • Abigail Lynn "Abby" DahlkemperAmerican soccer player
  • Abigail Nellie "Abby" WanerAmerican basketball player
  • Abigail Loraine "Abby" HenselAmerican conjoined twin and reality TV personality; twin Brittany Hensel
  • Abigail Susan "Abby" EcksteinAmerican child model
  • Abigail Mawae (b. 2000)daughter of NFL player Kevin Mawae
  • Abigail Grace Fisher (b. 2008)daughter of singer Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Matt Fisher
  • Abigail O'kalani Bowlsbey (b. 2014)daughter of U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth
  • Abigail Severino (b. 2015)daughter of baseball player Luis Severino

Abigail in Pop Culture

  • Abigail Johanna Deverauxcharacter on American soap "Days of Our Lives"
  • Abigail Rachel "Abby" Carlton Newmancharacter on American soap "The Young and the Restless"
  • Abigail "Abby" Scuitocharacter on TV's 'NCIS'
  • Abigail Armstrongcharacter on Australian TV's "Dance Academy"
  • Abigail "Abbie" Carmichaelcharacter on TV's "Law & Order"
  • Abigail Hobbscharacter on TV's 'Hannibal'
  • Dr. Abigail Chasemain character in National Treasure movies
  • Abigail Nixoncharacter on British TV's "The Bill"
  • Abigail Whitmancharacter on TV's "Mad Men"
  • Abigail Kennercharacter in novel "The Lifeboat Clique"
  • Abigail "Abby" Whelancharacter on TV's 'Scandal'
  • Abigail Lytarcharacter on TV's "Psych"
  • Abigail "Abby" Millscharacter on TV's "Sleepy Hollow"
  • Sister Abigailcharacter in movie 'Orphan'
  • Abigail "Abby" Daviescharacter on British soap "Hollyoaks"
  • Abigail Salmoncharacter in book/movie "The Lovely Bones"
  • Abigail "Abby" Lincoln (a.k.a. Numbah 5)one of the main characters on Codename: Kids Next Door
  • Abigail Merriweathercharacter in "This golden land" by Barbara Wood
  • "Abigail" song and concept album by King Diamond
  • Abigail "Abby" Griffina character in the TV show The 100
  • Abigail "Abbie" Rossocharacter in the children's novel '10 Kids, No Pets', by Ann M Martin
  • Abigail "Abby" Williamscharacter in Arthur Miller's play The Crucible
  • Abigail "Abby" Bennett Wilsoncharacter on TV's "The Vampire Diaries"
  • Abigail "Abbey" Bartletcharacter in the TV show The West Wing
  • Abigail Williamscharacter in the movie "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
  • "Abigail"song by Motionless in White
  • Abigail Kirkcharacter in book and movie "Playing Beatie Bow"
  • Abigaila character in the game "Stardew Valley"
  • Abigail “Abby” Maitlandcharacter in ITV Series “Primeval”

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