Gabriel Name Meaning

Baby boy

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What Does Gabriel Mean?

Biblical names don’t get much sturdier than Gabriel—the archangel who visited the Virgin Mary to announce she would be the mother of Jesus Christ. Hebrew in origin, the name Gabriel is translated as “God is my strength,” “God is my strong man” or “hero of God.”

In Christian belief, Gabriel is revered not only as one of only two archangels mentioned in the Bible (along with Michael), but as the bearer of very good news.

Although the angel Gabriel's most famous scriptural appearance is his visitation to Mary, this was not his first interaction with humanity. In fact, he also appears twice in the Old Testament book of Daniel to interpret Daniel’s visions about the future.

Many Christians also believe that Gabriel was the biblical angel who foretold the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah. (However, he is not mentioned by name in this scene in the book of Luke.) Gabriel plays a role in Islamic tradition, too, visiting Muhammad to inspire him to write the Quran. 

Whether or not you have a Christian or Muslim faith, Gabriel is a name choice with a long history—and, because of the scant scriptural details about this celestial being, it’s one with a hint of mystery, too.

  • Origin: The name Gabriel is a combination of two Hebrew words: gever, meaning “hero” or “strong man,” and el, meaning “God.” The biblical angel Gabriel is mentioned by name in the biblical books of Daniel and Luke.
  • Gender: Gabriel is typically a masculine name, but feminine variations like Gabrielle, Gabriela, and Gabby are common.
  • Pronunciation: GAYB-ree-uhl

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Gabriel? 

The name Gabriel has gradually increased in popularity since 1900, when it ranked as the 564th most common name for boys. Through the late mid-1960s, the name hovered in the range of 300th to 400th most popular. Then, around 1967, it began to climb. By 1976, Gabriel had broken into the double digits of popularity, culminating with its highest rank to date (No. 21) in 2010.

Into the 2010s, Gabriel remained a popular name, ranking as the 38th most popular in 2020. Beginning in the 1980s, the name Gabriel hit the charts as an option for girls as well—though it has never moved past a peak of No. 782 in 2000.

Name Variations

The name Gabriel has a long history and is known by many variations in different languages and cultures. Some of these variations include:

  • Cebrail (Turkish)
  • Dzhabrail (Chechen)
  • Gabriël (Dutch)
  • Gabriele (Italian)
  • Gabrielius (Lithuanian)
  • Gabrijel (Croatian)
  • Gavrel (Yiddish)
  • Gavrail, Gavril (Bulgarian)
  • Gavriel (Hebrew)
  • Gavriil (Greek, Russian)
  • Gavrilo (Serbian)
  • Havryil (Ukranian)
  • Jabril, Jibril (Arabic)

Similar Names

Other boys’ names of biblical origin include:

  • Daniel
  • David
  • Elijah
  • John
  • Matthew
  • Michael
  • Nathaniel
  • Samuel
  • Zechariah

Other boys names beginning with G:

  • Garrett
  • Garth
  • George
  • Gilbert
  • Giovanni
  • Graham
  • Grant
  • Grayson
  • Griffin
  • Guy

Common Nicknames

Common nicknames for Gabriel include:

  • Gabe: This one-syllable nickname implies a sense of strength and stability. Its simplicity and ease of spelling make it a reliable nickname choice. Since Gabe is a fairly obvious nickname for Gabriel, your child could alternate easily between going by Gabe and going by Gabriel.
  • Gabi: Most commonly a nickname in Spanish-speaking cultures, this shortening of Gabriel has a youthful, playful feel.

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Michael (the other archangel mentioned in the Bible)
  • Raphael (another angel in Christian tradition)
  • Aaron (means “mountain of strength”)
  • Mary
  • Angel
  • Elizabeth
  • Daniel 
  • Gavin
  • Gage
  • Gregory

Famous People Named Gabriel/Gabe

Because Gabriel has ancient origins, there have been numerous notable people with this name. Entertainers, athletes, authors, and even royalty have born with the name that means "God is my strength."

Famous Gabriels:

  • Gabriel Byrne, Irish actor
  • Gabriel Fauré, French Romantic composer
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian novelist
  • Gabriel Iglesias, American comedian
  • Prince Gabriel of Belgium, European prince

Famous Gabes:

  • Gabe Saporta, Uruguayan-American musician
  • Gabe Kapler, former American major league baseball player and as of 2021, manager of San Francisco Giants
  • Gabe Norwood, Filipino basketball player

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

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  1. Social Security Administration. Get ready for baby: Popularity of a name. Updated 2021.