Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Abel

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Hebrew
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 179
Simple meaning:
Breath, vapor, son

Characteristics of Abel

  • Cooperative
  • Considerate
  • Compassionate
  • Nurturing
  • Sensitive
  • Patient
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Gracious
  • Balanced

Etymology & Historical Origin - Abel

Abel is clearly a name of Biblical origins. He was borne the second son of Adam and Eve and is most famous for his role in the first sibling rivalry of humankind. His brother Cain, the oldest, is a farmer (“worker of the ground”) while the second born, Abel, is a shepherd (“keeper of the sheep”). Each brings an offering to God – Cain the fruit from his ground and Abel the first born of his flock. We’re not told why exactly, but the Lord favors Abel’s offering, “…but for Cain and his offering [God] had no regard.” Of course, this infuriates Cain [Genesis 4:3-5]. The Lord sees Cain’s anger and warns him that “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Unfortunately, Cain fails the next test too. Sin-shmin is his attitude because he lures Abel out to the field and kills him in a jealous fury. When God asks Cain “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain famously replies: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” [Genesis 4:9]. The generally accepted etymological roots of the name Abel come from the Hebrew word Hevel which means ‘breath, vapor’ where the implication is vanity or worthlessness (perhaps because Abel was killed over his brother’s vanity?). Another theory postulates that Abel is from an Old Assyrian dialect “ablu” meaning ‘son’. In other words, God’s favored son. As a given name, Abel was popularized by the Puritans.

Popularity of the Name Abel

Thanks to the Puritan settlers, the name Abel has probably been in use in America since the time of colonization. What we do know is that Abel has been on the U.S. popularity charts since the government first began tracking naming trends in 1880. It’s never been a Top 100 favorite among boys, or even close to it, but it’s a name that has been quietly used for centuries. Even with its heavy Biblical allusions, Abel still manages to stay cute and friendly as a name. It also carries with it a strong sense of competence and aptitude (“able”). Unlike Noah, Adam or Jacob – Abel is an offbeat Biblical choice without an ounce of trendiness. He was the good son and that’s how he’ll always be remembered first and foremost. You can pair this name with James and call him A.J. for short, or you can use the pet form Abe. This is a name more flexible than most people think.
Popularity of the Boy Name Abel
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Abel

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Abel

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Abel

    Abel Magwitch (Great Expectations) Abel Magwich is a central character in Charles Dickens” famous 1861 novel, Great Expectations, who actually provides the hero, “Pip”, with those same “great expectations”. Abel is an escaped convicted criminal when he first meets up with Pip, and terrorizes the boy into stealing food for him. After being recaptured and deported to Australia, Abel remembers Pip with kindness. Having made a fortune in sheep farming, he sends money to Pip under anonymity, allowing Pip to rise in the social classes. Although this windfall initially leads Pip onto a shallow path of social climbing and material procurement, he is brought up short by the realization that his riches have come to him from a convict. When they finally meet again, it is Abel’s gratitude and affection that largely cause Pip’s reassessment of his life and his resolve to become a better man. When poor Abel is brought to trial yet again, it is Pip who stays with him to the end, easing his benefactor into a happy death.

  • Popular Songs on Abel

    Popular Songs on Abel

    Guess God Thinks I'm Abel - a song by Oasis

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Abel

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Abel

    Abel's Island (William Steig) - Newbery Award winner. One summer day, newlywed mice Abel and Amanda are out for a picnic in the woods when they are caught in a sudden storm--a "full-fledged, screaming hurricane" to be precise. As they take refuge in a cave, a wind scoops up Amanda's scarf, and Abel foolishly lunges from safety to retrieve it. So begins William Steig's “Abel's Island”, the ensuing adventures of this rather foppish mouse as he comes head to head with nature. Amazingly, Abel is swept up in a stream, then a river, then eventually marooned on an island (about 12,000 tails long). He is sure that his rescue is imminent; but he is not so lucky. What will this intelligent, imaginative rodent do to get off the island and back to his beloved Amanda? Recommended for ages 7-10.

    Abel's Moon (Shirley Hughes) - After Abel Grable returns from working out of the country, he tells his wife and sons all about his adventures. He describes camping out in jungles and taking supplies by riverboat to people in places with no electricity, with only the moon to guide the way. Because the boys love hearing these stories so much, Abel decides to record them. Finding it too noisy to work inside, he takes a table out in the yard, and writes for many hours. Then he goes off again. Using the table at which he wrote, Noah and Adam re-create their father's adventures or pretend that the table is a machine that can take them to the moon. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Cain and Abel : Finding the Fruits of Peace (Sandy Eisenberg Sasso) - In this retelling of the Bible story, a rabbi shows how the idyllic world of "the first children" was marred and then destroyed by jealousy, unkind words, anger, and, finally, murder. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Abel

    Famous People Named Abel

    Famous People Named Abel - Abel Tasman (Dutch explorer who discovered New Zealand); Abel (soccer player); Abel Ferrara (film director); Abel Gance (film director);Abel Pacheco (former President of Costa Rica); Abel Xavier (soccer player)

  • Children of Famous People Named Abel

    Children of Famous People Named Abel

    Famous People Who Named Their Son Abel - Amy Poehler (comic/actress); Will Arnett (comic/actor)

  • Historic Figures

    Abel - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603–1659) - Abel Tasman was a Dutch mariner, merchant and explorer most known for his discovery of Tasmania, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands during his voyage of 1642-43. He was the first known European expedition to reach these islands and come into contact with the native Maori people. Tasmania was obviously named after him (it had formerly been known as Van Diemen’s Land). Enduring rough waters and unknown seas, Tasman was an “Abel” seafarer. It would be another century and James Cook’s voyages before Tasmania and New Zealand would be visited again by Europeans. Certainly the Maori people must have been scratching their heads…

Personality of the Boy Name Abel

The Number 2 personality in numerology is all about cooperation and balance. It's the number of diplomats and mediators. They are not leaders, but strive rather for harmony in partnerships. These are the peacemakers. Equality and fairness are important in their dealings, and they are willing to share power and responsibility to achieve a harmonious outcome. This personality is calm and patient, waiting for things to evolve instead of pushing aggressively for an outcome. They are good-natured and easy-going, and care deeply on an emotional and spiritual plane. Twos appreciate beauty and nature and are intent on making the world a better place.

Variations of the Baby Name - Abel

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