Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Gabriel

Gabriel is a name borne from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as well as in the Christian New Testament. He is considered one of the seven archangels of God and, apropos, the name comes from the Hebrew “Gabhri’el” (גַבְרִיאֵל) meaning, quite literally, “man of God” from the elements “gebher” (man) and “El” (God). Also related to the Hebrew verb “gabhar” meaning “was strong”, so Gabriel is often translated to mean “strong man of God” or “God is my strength”. He first appears in the Old Testament in Daniel 8:16 when he helps Daniel interpret his visions. However, Gabriel’s key importance comes in the New Testament (the Gospel according to Luke) when he appears before Zechariah to announce the coming of John the Baptist, and to Mary to proclaim the coming of Jesus. According to Islamic tradition, Gabriel was the angel who dictated the Qur'an to Muhammad. In other words, he was one busy little dude! Although Gabriel appeared from time to time among English speakers in the Middle Ages, the name didn’t really come into full fruition until the latter half of the 20th century. Right now, Gabriel is an international darling. It’s a Top 10 choice in France (where it’s pronounced ga-bree-EL) and a Top 20 in Belgium. It’s a Top 25 in the United States, Chile and Croatia. And you’ll also find him high on the charts of Austria, Canada, Spain, Poland, Norway, Sweden Catalonia, England and Australia. Clearly a universal favorite.

All About the Baby Name – Gabriel

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME GABRIEL

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME GABRIEL

Gabriel enjoyed only mild-moderate usage in the first part of the 1900’s; however, since the 1940’s, the name has been gaining ground non-stop. Today, the name Gabriel is a favorite for boys. We’re sure its popularity has something to do with its Biblical significance, and it sure doesn’t hurt that Gabriel was an “angel” – what better symbol to bestow upon your child? Gabriel has a classical charm to it, as well as cosmopolitan-coolness, and the shortened version (Gabe) allows for a more masculine option. It’s hard to say if the name has seen its peak popularity, but it seems to be parking itself on the Top 25 list. Not too shabby.

Quick Facts

ON GABRIEL

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

24

PRONUNCIATION:

GAY-bree-əl

SIMPLE MEANING:

Man of God

Characteristics

OF GABRIEL

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Gabriel

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME GABRIEL

Archangel Gabriel is a major dude in the Bible, being one of the elite club of the Messengers of God. He makes several appearances in the Old Testament, but his shining hour is when he announces to the Virgin Mary that she will have a child, Jesus, while not knowing man. Earlier he had performed the same service for Mary’s cousin, Anne, announcing to her in her advanced age that she would bear a son, John the Baptist. This has naturally led to his being named the patron saint of messengers and of those who work in the media. Gabriel is often also depicted as carrying a trumpet, being always at the ready to call for the End of Days, and only too happy to do so. So far, God has not given the order.

Gabriel Oak is a character in Thomas Hardy's novel, "Far from the Madding Crowd" (1874). He is the first suitor to the very beautiful and vain Bathsheba. As the novel's hero, Gabriel is an honest, humble farmer. He loves Bathsheba unselfishly; although she rejects his offer of marriage, he remains her loyal friend and right-hand man through many difficulties. He occupies the position of quiet observer throughout most of the book, yet he knows just when to step in to save Bathsheba and others from catastrophe. In the end, he gets the girl.

Popular Songs

ON GABRIEL

Gabriel and Me
a song by Joan Baez

Gabriel's Mother's Highway Ballad
a song by Arlo Guthrie

Gabriel's Oboe
instrumental by YoYoMa

Famous People

NAMED GABRIEL

Gabriel García Márquez (Nobel Prize winner/literature)
Gabriel Byrne (actor)
Gabriel García Márquez (Nobel Prize winner/literature)
Gabriel Byrne (actor)
Gabriel García Márquez (Nobel Prize winner/literature)
Gabriel Byrne (actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED GABRIEL

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Gabriel

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME GABRIEL

Saint Gabriel Lalemant was born in Paris and joined the Jesuit Order as a young man, with the intention of devoting his life to being a foreign missionary. In his case, the foreign mission turned out to be Canada, specifically Quebec, where he joined other Jesuits at various outposts among the Huron and Iroquois. The recipients of this conversion did not take kindly to the donors; Gabriel Lalemant was kidnapped, cruelly tortured, and burned to death. For his pains he was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. He is among the pantheon known as the eight Canadian Martyrs.

Francesco Possenti was born in Assisi, Italy and joined the Passionist Congregation, a monastery devoted to reverence of the Passion of Christ (during which time he took the name Gabriel). A member of a privileged family, the young saint-to-be did not demonstrate any particular holiness, but a severe illness led him to promise his future to God in exchange for health. He just may not have specified how long the health should last, for only six years after entering the novitiate and before taking his final vows, Gabriel succumbed to tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four. Pope Benedict XV declared him a saint in 1920.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Columbian journalist, film critic, novelist and screenwriter who won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) have cemented his reputation as one of the foremost writers of the last century. Gabriel was raised by his grandparents in his formative years and credits them with a major influence on his literature. His grandfather was a liberal revolutionary, who bestowed his sense of social justice on his grandson; his grandmother was a devoted religious woman who accepted the supernatural as natural, and led him to his unique style of “magical realism”. Because of his derogatory remarks about United States imperialism, his friendship with Fidel Castro and his many other outré liberal viewpoints, Mr. Marquez was denied entry to the states for many years. This was rescinded during Bill Clinton’s presidency, who declared One Hundred Years of Solitude to be his favorite novel. Now in his eighties, “Gabo” continues to work on his memoirs.