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Abel Name Meaning

Updated
Learn about the name Abel including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Abel Overview

  • Meaning: Abel is a Hebrew name that means either “breath” or “son.” Abel is typically linked to the biblical story of Cain and Abel.
  • Gender: Abel has primarily been a masculine name throughout history.
  • Origin: Abel is a Hebrew name that appears in the Christian and Hebrew bibles. Its origin as a first name is biblical.
  • Pronunciation: “AY-bull.” The name rhymes with the words “cable” or “table.”
  • Popularity: Abel has remained in the top 1000 most popular names for boys in the United States for over a century now. The name remains popular as, in 2021, Abel was the 196th most popular name.
  • Nicknames: Ab, Abe, Abele, Abell, Abie, Abey.
  • Variations: Aapeli (Finnish), Ábel (Hungarian), Abele (Italian), Avel (Russian), Hebel (Hebrew), Hevel (Biblical Hebrew).
  • Namesakes: Abel Ferrara (American movie director); Abel Tasman (Dutch explorer); Abel Tesfaye (Canadian musician known as “The Weeknd.”)

What Does Abel Mean?

Abel is a Hebrew boy’s name that means either “breath” or “son.” There are two schools of thought: Abel came from the Hebrew name Hebel or the Assyrian word for son (1).

The Hebrew name Hebel comes from the word “hevel,” which means vapor or breath. If the name came from the Assyrian language, the meaning is equivalent to the English word for son.

Whether the meaning is “breath” or “son,” the name Abel is typically linked to the biblical story of Cain and Abel, where the name first comes from.

What Is the Origin of the Name Abel?

Abel is a Hebrew name that appears in the Christian and Hebrew bibles. Its origin as a first name is biblical.

In the bible, Abel is linked to his brother Cain in the story of Cain and Abel. The story of Cain and Abel is in the Book of Genesis. In the story, Cain is a farmer and the firstborn son, and Abel is the second-born and a shepherd. The brothers were sons of Eve, the first woman in the bible (2).

Cain slays his brother Abel in the act of jealousy, as God shows preference toward Abel. Abel is the story’s innocent and considered a martyr in the Judeo-Christian world. There are also references to the story of Cain and Abel in Islam, though the story varies slightly.

Abel has been a popular name in areas with concentrated Christian or Jewish communities, such as the early Puritans in America.

How Popular Is the Name Abel?

The name Abel has been steadily popular in the United States as far back as 1880. Abel has remained in the top 1000 most popular names for boys in the United States for over a century now.

The name rose in popularity starting in 1990, when it was the 382nd most popular name. It gradually rose to the top 300 when it reached #293 in 2010.

The most popular year for the name Abel so far was 2015, when it reached the rank of #124. It has dropped in popularity only slightly since 2015, still remaining within the top 200. In 2021, Abel was the 196th most popular name.

How Do I Pronounce Abel?

Abel is pronounced, “AY-bull.” The name rhymes with the words “cable” or “table.”

Is Abel a Boy or Girl Name?

Abel has primarily been a masculine name throughout history.

Variations of Abel

As a biblical male name, Abel has been popular in many different areas, and variations have been created.

  • Aapeli (Finnish)
  • Ábel (Hungarian)
  • Abele (Italian)
  • Avel (Russian)
  • Hebel (Hebrew)
  • Hevel (Biblical Hebrew)

Nicknames for Abel

Here are some of the fun and catchy nicknames that people named Abel can use:

  • Ab
  • Abe
  • Abele
  • Abell
  • Abie
  • Abey

Similar Names to Abel

These names are similar to Abel as many of them also originated in the bible:

Middle Names for Abel

As a short name, Abel fits well with many unique and classic middle names. These include:

Sibling Names for Abel

Many sibling names take advantage of the unisex biblical names available, such as:

  • Abia
  • Adrian
  • Anah
  • Angel
  • Blaine
  • Briar
  • Carmi
  • Chance
  • Dana
  • Eden
  • Haven
  • Raphael
  • Shiloh
  • Terah
  • Tobin
  • Wren

Famous People Named Abel

There have been many famous people named Abel over the years, particularly in the sports and entertainment worlds. For example:

  • Abel Ferrara: American movie director.
  • Abel Hernández: Uruguyan soccer player.
  • Abel Salazar: Portuguese scientist, physician, and painter.
  • Abel Tasman: Dutch explorer and first known European to travel to New Zealand.
  • Abel Tesfaye: Canadian musician who is known better by his stage name, “The Weeknd.”

Abel in Popular Culture

The classic story of Cain and Abel is one of the many ways the name Abel has been adapted in pop culture. For example:

  • Abel: a character in the video game “The Walking Dead: The Final Season.”
  • Abel: a playable character in the video game “Street Fighter IV.”
  • Abel: a character in a number of horror-themed DC Comics.
  • Abel: the main character in the book “Green Mansions.”
  • Abel Magwitch: one of the main characters in the book “Great Expectations.”
  • Abel Nightroad: a character in the anime series “Trinity Blood.”
  • Abel Teller: a character in the TV series “Sons of Anarchy.”

Abel FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the name Abel.

What Is the Feminine Version of Abel?

There is no direct feminine variation of the name Abel. The names of the daughters of Eve are sometimes seen as a female equivalent to the masculine Abel.

The daughters of Eve are Awan, Azura, and Aclima. Aclima is a name found in Muslim religious texts, and she was the twin sister of the firstborn son Cain (3). These names can be an interesting way to find a female version of the name Abel.

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