abigail

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See also: Abigail and Abigaíl

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the name Abigail, as given to a waiting-maid in Beaumont and Fletcher's play The Scornful Lady.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

abigail (plural abigails)

  1. (obsolete) A lady’s waiting maid. [Mid 17th century.][1]
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, page 415:
      It was therefore concluded that the Abigails should, by turns, relieve each other on one of his lordship’s horses, which was presently equipped with a side-saddle for that purpose.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre:
      In the servants’ hall two coachmen and three gentlemen’s gentlemen stood or sat round the fire; the abigails, I suppose, were upstairs with their mistresses; the new servants, that had been hired from Millcote, were bustling about everywhere.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ “abigail” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-860457-0, page 4.