Very common Spanish boy's name (pronounced with a hard g and the stress on the second syllable), a vernacular derivative (via Latin) of Greek angelos, which meant ‘messenger’ in classical Greek, but in New Testament Greek acquired the specialized sense ‘messenger of God’, i.e. an angel. It is common in the U.S. In Britain it is now almost exclusively a girl's name, but it was used occasionally as a boy's name from the 1400s, if not earlier. As such it is familiar as the name of Angel Clare, the chief male character in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891).