Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Ab’igail.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A lady’s maid, or lady-maid. Abigail, wife of Nabal, who introduced herself to David and afterwards married him, is a well-known Scripture heroine (1 Sam. xxv. 3). Abigail was a popular middle class Christian name in the seventeenth century. Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Scornful Lady, call the “waiting gentlewoman” Abigail, a name employed by Swift, Fielding, and others, in their novels. Probably “Abigail Hill,” the original name of Mrs. Masham, waiting-woman to Queen Anne, popularised the name.   1



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