Family name origins & meanings
- German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) : metonymic occupational name for a maker and seller of forks, from Middle High German gabel(e), German Gabel ‘fork’. The reference is to any of the various pieces of agricultural equipment denoted by this word, for example hay forks, shearlegs, etc. Table forks were not used in Germany for eating before the 16th century.
- German : topographic name for someone who lived near a fork in a road or river, or owned a forked piece of land, from the German word in this transferred sense.
- German : habitational name from any of the places called Gabel in Germany, in Schleswig, Thuringia, Silesia, and in particular one in Bohemia, which derive their name from Slavic jablo‘apple tree’.
- German : from a short form ofGabriel.
- Americanized spelling of German Gäbel(see Gaebel) or Göbel (see Goebel).
- Jewish (Ashkenazic) : adoption of 1–3 above.