masc. proper name, Biblical name of the first man, progenitor of the human race, from Hebrew adam "man," literally "(the one formed from the) ground" (Hebrew adamah "ground"); compare Latin homo "man," humanus "human," humus "earth, ground, soil."
The name was also used to signify the evil inherent in human nature (as a consequence of Adam's fall), and other qualities (nakedness, gardening) associated with the biblical Adam. Adam's ale "water" is from 1640s. To not know (someone) from Adam "not know him at all" is first recorded 1784. The pet form of the name in Middle English was Addy, hence Addison; other old pet forms (Adkin, Adcock) also survive in surnames.
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