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Mabel is an English female given name derived from the Latin amabilis, "lovable, dear".[1]


Amabilis of Riom (d. 475) was a French male saint who logically would have assumed the name Amabilis upon entering the priesthood: his veneration may have resulted in Amabilis being used as both a male and female name or the name's female usage may have been initiated by the female saint Amabilis of Rouen (d. 634), the daughter of an Anglo-Saxon king who would have adopted the name Amabilis upon becoming a nun. [2]

Brought by the Normans - as Amable - to the British Isles, the name was there common as both Amabel and the abbreviated Mabel throughout the Middle Ages, with Mabel subsequently remaining common until circa 1700 from which point its usage was largely restricted to Ireland, Mabel there being perceived as a variant of the Celtic name Maeve,[3] until the name had a Victorian revival in Britain, facilitated by the 1853 publication of the novel The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte M. Yonge which features an Irish character named Mabel Kilcoran; Yonge's novel also features a character named Amabel[4] but her novel only significantly boosted the popularity of the name in the form Mabel, which became immensely popular in both the British Isles and the United States.

At the start of the 20th century Mabel's popularity began a slow decline which accelerated from the 1930s; the name has seen very light usage since the 1960s. Due to its origin as an abridgement of Amabel it has been surmised that Mabel was originally pronounced with a short A, the name's pronunciation with a long A dating only from its mid-19th century revival.[5]

Notable people[edit]

Stage name or ring name[edit]

  • Mabel Matiz (1985–), Turkish pop singer
  • Mabel McVey (stage name Mabel) (1996–), Spanish-born pop singer, daughter of singer Neneh Cherry
  • Mabel and Viscera (wrestler), ring names of American professional wrestler Nelson Lee Frazier Jr. (1971-2014)

Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ Reclams Namensbuch, 1987, ISBN 3-15-007399-5
  2. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  3. ^ "Mabel on BabyNamer: Baby Names and Meanings". Archived from the original on 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  4. ^ Mike Campbell. "Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Mabel". Behind the Name. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  5. ^ "Mabel - Meaning of the girl name Mabel at Baby Names Pedia". Retrieved 2012-08-19.