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- a lady’s maid.
- the wife of Nabal and later of David. I Sam. 25.
- a female given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “joy of the father.”
- Old Testament the woman who brought provisions to David and his followers and subsequently became his wife (I Samuel 25:1–42)
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.