Old English abbod "abbot," from Latin abbatem (nominative abbas), from Greek abbas, from Aramaic (Semitic) abba, title of honor, literally "the father, my father," emphatic state of abh "father." Spelling with -t is a Middle English Latinization. Originally a title given to any monk, later limited to the head of a monastery. The use as a surname is perhaps ironic or a nickname. The Latin fem. abbatissa is root of abbess. Related: Abbacy; abbatial; abbotship.
updated on August 11, 2018