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abigail


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Archaic term for a lady's maid. The term comes in the 17th century from the name of the ‘waiting gentlewoman’ in Beaumont and Fletcher's play of The Scornful Lady; so named possibly in biblical allusion to the expression ‘thine handmaid’ frequently applied to herself by Abigail, future wife of King David (1 Samuel 25:24–31).


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