Today's name: Abel
Potential nicknames: Abe, Bello
Origin: Hebrew, meaning "breath." It is said this name comes from the Hebrew name Hevel and implies vanity, but it could also come from an Assyrian word meaning "meadow."
Popularity: Used since the 6th century, Abel has a long history of use. In 2011 there were 1,497 baby boys named Abel, which means it ranked at #237 on the U.S. top 1000, a slow rise from a decade ago, and also from 1880. In 2010 there were 1,119 baby boys named Abel, #292. It is even more popular in Hungary.
Fun fact: (1) In the Bible, Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve. He was murdered out of jealously by his brother Cain because Abel had pleased God more than Cain. He was also said to be the first shepherd. The Christian Church claims he is a pre-Christian martyr, thus a saint. There is also a Saint Abel of Reims from the 8th century. (2) Tasmania was named in honor of explorer Abel Tasman. (3) The Abel Prize is an international mathematics award named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel. (4) Amy Pohler and Will Arnett chose this name for their baby. (5) There are two movie directors with this name: Abel Fererra and Abel Gance. (6) Abel is a Dickens character and a Trollope character.