Biblical name, borne by the first of the Jewish patriarchs, with whom God made a covenant that his descendants should possess the land of Canaan. The Hebrew form is Avraham, and is of uncertain derivation. In Genesis 17:5 it is explained as ‘father of a multitude (of nations)’ (Hebrew av hamon (goyim)). It has always been a popular Jewish given name, and was also chosen by Christians, especially by Puritans and other fundamentalists from the 16th century onwards. Various early saints of the Eastern Roman Empire also bore this name. Its currency in the United States was greatly enhanced by the fame of President Abraham Lincoln (1809–65).