masc. proper name, also name of an Old Testament angel, from Hebrew Gabhri el, literally "man of God," from gebher "man" + El "God." First element is from base of verb gabhar "was strong" (compare Arabic jabr "strong, young man;" jabbar "tyrant"). Gabriel's hounds (17c.) was a folk explanation for the cacophony of wild geese flying over, hidden by clouds or night.
1810, from Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal "member of the Gaelic race" (Irish, Scottish, Manx), corresponding to Old Irish Goidhel (compare Latin Gallus under Gallic, also see Galatians). The native name in both Ireland and Scotland; owing to the influence of Scottish writers Gael was used in English at first exclusively of Highland Scots.
fem. proper name, in some cases short for Abigail, or from the Hebrew root in that name meaning "rejoicing." Attained its greatest popularity in U.S. as a given name for girls born c. 1945-1955.
islands were named for the tortoises (Spanish galapagos) who live there; discovered by Europeans in 1535. Related: Galapagian.
Biblical epistle, from Galatia, name of an ancient inland region in Asia Minor, from Greek Galatia, based on Gaul, in reference to the Gaulish people who conquered the region and settled there 3c. B.C.E. In Latin Gallograeci, hence Middle English Gallocrecs "the Gallatians."
surname, from Old Gaelic Gall-Bhreathnach "stranger-Briton," a name given to Britons settled among Gaels. Compare Galloway.
celebrated Greek physician of 2c.; his work still was a foundation of medicine in the Middle Ages and his name is used figuratively for doctors.
region in Central Europe, perhaps ultimately from Lithuanian galas "end, peak," in reference to the Carpathian Mountains which rise there, or from the root of Gaul. The region in northwestern Spain of the same name is from the ancient Roman province of Gallaecia, which is perhaps from the Celtic root cala "watercourse," or else it, too, might be from the root of Gaul. Related: Galician (1749 of Spain, 1835 of Eastern Europe).
"northernmost province of Palestine," late 12c., from Latin Galilaea, Greek Galilaia, with place-name element + Hebrew Haggalil, literally "The District," a compressed form of Gelil haggoyim "the District of Nations" (see Isaiah viii.23). The adjective Galilean, also Galilaean, is used both of Jesus, who was raised and began preaching there, and his followers (1610s), who was born there, and of the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1727); the family name is from one of its ancestors, Galileo de'Bonajuti, a prominent 15th century physician and civic leader in Florence, and represents Latin Galilaeus "Galilean." Galilean also figures as the word applied to early Christians among the pagans and Jews. Old and Middle English had Galileish