🔼The name Gabriel: Summary
- [Mighty] Man Of God
- From (1) the verb גבר (gabar), to be mighty, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Gabriel in the Bible
Gabriel is one of two named angels in the Bible; Michael is the other one. Of Michael we know that he's an archangel but of Gabriel we do not. Still Gabriel is a pretty important guy.
Gabriel explains to Daniel some of the most awesome visions contained in the Bible (Daniel 8:16 and 9:21), and, more than five centuries later, Gabriel (Γαβριηλ) announces to Zacharias and Mary their respective sons: John to be The Baptist and Jesus Christ (Luke 1:19 and 1:26).
🔼Etymology of the name Gabriel
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first segment of the name Gabriel comes from the verb גבר (gabar), meaning to be mighty:
The verb גבר (gabar) means to be strong or mighty or to prevail. Noun גבר (geber) is one of a few words for man, perhaps comparable to our words "guy" or "dude". Adjective or noun גבור (gibbor) means mighty or strong or valiant man. Noun גבורה (gebura) means strength or might. Noun גביר (gebir) refers to an alpha male: a lord or master, and the feminine equivalents are גבירה (gebira) and גברת (geberet), mistress or queen.
The English language (vastly inferior to Hebrew) knows plenty of amicable words for man (dude, bloke, chap, codger) but no words that describe him as a powerful creature without getting ridiculous (He-man, hunk, tiger). If such a word would ever be devised, the name Gabriel consists of it, plus the word El. For now, we must settle for a too simple Man Of God, or God's Guy.
See the name Zechariah for a playful variant of the name Gabriel. It means something like Yah's Male. In modern times the name Gabriel was turned into the feminine name Gabriela.