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


[ab-i-geyl] /ˈæb ɪˌgeɪl/
the wife of Nabal and later of David. I Sam. 25.
a female given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “joy of the father.”. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for abigail
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • abigail properly resolved to defer any conversation with Nabal till the morning, when she disclosed the whole affair.

  • Then she said, "I will be down directly;" and the abigail retired.

    The Bertrams Anthony Trollope
  • The abigail obeyed the orders, and the young Countess of Erpingham was alone.

    Godolphin, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • I ain't nobody much in family, now abigail's done what she has.

    Friendship Village Zona Gale
  • But both he and abigail were unexpectedly interrupted in their project.

    Hildebrand Anonymous
British Dictionary definitions for abigail


(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
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Word Origin and History for 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
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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
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