follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

abigail

[ab-i-geyl] /ˈæb ɪˌgeɪl/
noun
1.
a lady's maid.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; after Abigail, name of attendant in play The Scornful Lady (1610), by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

Abigail

[ab-i-geyl] /ˈæb ɪˌgeɪl/
noun
1.
the wife of Nabal and later of David. I Sam. 25.
2.
a female given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “joy of the father.”.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for abigail

Abigail

/ˈæbɪˌɡeɪl/
noun
1.
(Old Testament) the woman who brought provisions to David and his followers and subsequently became his wife (I Samuel 25:1–42)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for abigail

Abigail

fem. proper name, in Old Testament, Abigail the Carmelitess, a wife of David, from Hebrew Abhigayil, literally "my father is rejoicing," from abh "father" + gil "to rejoice." Used in general sense of "lady's maid" (1660s) from character of that name in Beaumont & Fletcher's "The Scornful Lady." The waiting maid association perhaps begins with I Sam. xxv, where David's wife often calls herself a "handmaid." Her male counterpart was Andrew.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
abigail in the Bible

father (i.e., "leader") of the dance, or "of joy." (1.) The sister of David, and wife of Jether an Ishmaelite (1 Chr. 2:16,17). She was the mother of Amasa (2 Sam. 17:25). (2.) The wife of the churlish Nabal, who dwelt in the district of Carmel (1 Sam. 25:3). She showed great prudence and delicate management at a critical period of her husband's life. She was "a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance." After Nabal's death she became the wife of David (1 Sam. 25:14-42), and was his companion in all his future fortunes (1 Sam. 27:3; 30:5; 2 Sam. 2:2). By her David had a son called Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3), elsewhere called Daniel (1 Chr. 3:1).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for abigail

Abigail

in the Old Testament, the wife of Nabal of southern Judah, on whose death she became one of the first wives of David (1 Samuel 25) and the mother of his son Chileab. The name Abigail was also borne by David's sister (1 Chronicles 2:16), who was the mother of Amasa, commander of the army of Absalom. From the former (self-styled "handmaid"; 1 Samuel 25:25) is derived the colloquial use of the word for a waiting woman.

Learn more about Abigail with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for abigail

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for abigail

10
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for abigail