The popular name Abigail is based on the Hebrew name Avigayil. The most common definitions I see for this name are along the lines of "my father is rejoicing," "my father is joy" and "father's joy," but other meanings have been suggested as well.
The name was rarely used during the first half of the 20th century, but it began to pick up steam mid-century. It became popular in the late 1980s, jumping into the top 100 for the first time in 1989. It reached the top 50 in 1994, and entered the top 10 in 2001.
Here's how the name Abigail has ranked over the last decade:
- 2009: 8th most popular girl name in the U.S.
- 2008: 8th
- 2007: 8th
- 2006: 6th
- 2005: 4th
- 2004: 6th
- 2003: 6th
- 2002: 7th
- 2001: 8th
- 2000: 14th
Other spellings of Abigail include Abegail, Abigayle and Abbigail.
Nicknames for Abigail include Abby, Abbye, Abbi, Abbie, Abi, Gail and Gayle.
Here's a partial list of various notable people named Abigail:
- Abigail, one of the wives of David in the Hebrew bible
- Abigail Adams (1744 - 1818), First Lady of the United States from 1797 to 1801
- Abigail Breslin (b. 1996), American actress
- Abbie Cornish (b. 1982), Australian actress
- Abigail Fillmore (1798 - 1853), First Lady of the United States from 1850 to 1853
- Abigail Folger (1943 - 1969), American heiress and murder victim
- Abigail Spears (b. 1981), American tennis player
- Abigail Thernstrom (b. ?), American political scientist and author
- Abigail Williams (1680 - c.1697), accuser in the Salem witch trials of 1692
Abigail Van Buren of "Dear Abby" fame is just a pen name. The originator of the column was actually named Pauline.
The name Abigail/Abby has also been featured as a character name on the soap operas Days of our Lives and As the World Turns and on the dramas ER, NCIS, and The West Wing.
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