Absalom (name)

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For other uses, see Absalom (disambiguation).
Pronunciation /ˈæbsələm/
Gender masculine
Language(s) Hebrew
Meaning "father of peace".
Other names
See also Axel

Absalom (English pronunciation /ˈæbsələm/, Hebrew: אַבְשָלוֹם, Modern Avshalom, Tiberian ʼAḇšālôm ; "father of peace"; Biblical Greek Αβεσσαλωμ) is a masculine given name from the Old Testament, where Absalom is a son of King David.

The variant (or "fuller form") Hebrew: אֲבּישָׁלוֹם, Modern Avishalom, Tiberian ʼĂḇîyšâlôwm ; "my father is peace" is given as the name of the father-in-law of Rehoboam in 1 Kings (15:2,10).[1]

Absalon was a 12th-century Danish archbishop and statesman from whose name the modern Scandinavian given name Axel has developed (via Axelen).[2] The variant Absolon is a German surname.

The name was also given in medieval England (variants Absolon, Apsolon, Abselon). As in the biblical story, the fleeing Absalom has his long hair caught in a tree, the name appears to have been given as a nickname for a man with long or thick hair, as suggested by a passage in the Canterbury Tales,

Now was ther of that Chirche a parish clerk, The which that was ycleped Absolon ... Curl was his heer and as the gold it shoon (The Miller's Tale).

This use as a nickname is possibly also the origin of Absalom as an English surname.[3] The name Absalom continued to be given in Anglo-Saxon protestantism in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Hebrew name was given among Palestinian Jews in the 19th to early 20th century and remains current in Israel; it is mostly anglicized as Avshalom, reflecting Modern Hebrew pronunciation.

Given name[edit]



Family name
Region of origin England
Related names Asplen, Aspling, Ashplant; Absolon

"Absalom" is a rare English surname, recorded as early as in the early 13th century. It derives from the given name or nickname Absalom which became popular in England in the 12th century. The surname remained rare throughout its existence, but it gave rise to a number of variants, such as Asplen, and via the latter Aspling and Ashplant.[4]

The variant Absolon is found in England as well as in France and Germany, reaching Central Europe in the late medieval period, so that Absolon (feminine Absolonová) is now also a Czech and Slovak surname.



  1. ^ but in 2 Chronicles 11:20,21, the same person is referred to by the shorter form Avshalom. See Strong's Concordance H53.
  2. ^ "Danish names". behindthename.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  3. ^ via a patronymic; one Absolon filius Apsolon is recorded in the Feet of Fines for Cambridgeshire in 1199, one Stephen Abselon is mentioned in the Curia Regis Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1208, and one Thomas Absolom is mentioned in the Calendar of Letter Books for the City of London in 1281. Name Origin Research www.surnamedb.com[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ David Hey, Family Names and Family History, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006, p. 65.

See also[edit]