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  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Abraham-man One of a set of vagabonds who formerly roamed through England, feigning lunacy for the sake of obtaining alms.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n abraham-man Originally, a mendicant lunatic from Bethlehem Hospital, London. The wards in the ancient Bedlam (Bethlehem) bore distinctive names, as of some saint or patriarch. That named after Abraham was devoted to a class of lunatics who on certain days were permitted to go out begging. They bore a badge, and were known as Abraham-men. Many, however, assumed the badge without right, and begged, feigning lunacy. Hence the more received meaning came to be
    • n abraham-man An impostor who wandered about the country seeking alms, under pretense of lunacy. Hence the phrase to sham Abraham, to feign sickness.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Abraham-man ā′bra-ham-man originally a lunatic beggar from Bethlehem Hospital in London, marked by a special badge. Many sturdy beggars assumed this, hence the phrase To sham Abraham, to feign sickness, still used among sailors.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Possibly in allusion to the parable of the beggar Lazarus in Luke xvi. Murray (New Eng. Dict. ).
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
The wards in the old Bedlam are said to have been distinguished by the names of saints and patriarchs, as Abraham. Some find the origin of the name in an allusion to the parable of the beggar Lazarus, who found his rest in Abraham's bosom (Luke xvi.).


In literature:

God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling.
"The Pursuit of God" by A. W. Tozer
Abraham was an old man when Sarah died.
"Child's Story of the Bible" by Mary A. Lathbury
Did you carry that man on your back, Abraham?
"In The Boyhood of Lincoln" by Hezekiah Butterworth
That ship's carpenter, Abraham Janes, was a man of great parts in his trade.
"Marjorie" by Justin Huntly McCarthy
This man is Abraham, honored in the sacred records, with the appellation, "Father" of the "faithful.
"Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments" by Various
I think Abraham Lincoln was a good man, according to what I have heard about him.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves" by Work Projects Administration
When Abraham came down into Egypt the Sphinx was old beyond the memory of man!
"Round the Wonderful World" by G. E. Mitton
There are times when we do choose our best and wisest man, and everybody thinks we did so when we made Abraham Lincoln President.
"The Story of Our Country"
Mrs. Lincoln loved Abraham and saw that there was the making of a smart man in him.
"The Child's Book of American Biography" by Mary Stoyell Stimpson
Now, if by 'accepted' is meant 'finally accepted,' St. Paul would say this as of Abraham, so of every other accepted man.
"St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, Vol. I" by Charles Gore
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I heard from God: this did not Abraham.
"The Bible Story" by Rev. Newton Marshall Hall
Now consider how great this man was, unto whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils.
"The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews" by Thomas Charles Edwards
He is as proud as a man; he is fierce as a wolf; and Abraham himself cannot touch the neck of my horse.
"The Garden of Eden" by Max Brand
Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and Thou sayest, If a man keep My word, he shall never taste of death.
"The Expositor's Bible: The Gospel of St. John, Vol. I" by Marcus Dods
Some one has said, if you had asked men in Abraham's day who their great man was, they would have said Enoch, and not Abraham.
"Secret Power" by Dwight L. Moody
When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was?
"The True Benjamin Franklin" by Sydney George Fisher
Rydberg (Abraham Viktor), Swedish man of Letters, b. Joenkoeping, 18 Dec. 1829.
"A Biographical Dictionary of Freethinkers of All Ages and Nations" by Joseph Mazzini Wheeler
Abraham tried it, and the man after hearing his speech took him aside and asked him how he learned so much and how he could do so well.
"Boys' and Girls' Biography of Abraham Lincoln" by James H. Shaw
And Abraham's zeal was kindled against the man, and he arose and fell upon him, and drove him forth with blows into the wilderness.
"Benjamin Franklin" by Frank Luther Mott
There was in Egypt a man named Abraham, son of Keath, husband to Jocabed, sister to his brother.
"A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 1 (of 10)" by François-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)

In poetry:

Then Jesus said, "This is a man!
His hoose I'm here to save it;
He's are o' Abraham's ain clan,
An' siclike has behavit!
"Godly Ballants" by George MacDonald
Why waste on ancestors a heated breath,
Or note which progeny was Abraham's?
Whether his food be herbs or Bashan rams,
Man, wretched wight, is on his way to death.
"Lamentation" by Shlomo ibn Gabirol
And well do time and place befit my mood
Beneath the arms
Of this embracing wood, a good man made
His home, like Abraham resting in the shade
Of Mamre's lonely palms.
"Chalkey Hall" by John Greenleaf Whittier
As faithful Abraham, ere he went to pray
Upon the mount, did leave his ass behind;
So ev'ry man shou'd cast his sins away,
And each presumptuous thought securely bind.
"Advice To Prepare Ourselves, Before We Come To Worship God In Public" by Rees Prichard
Abraham was a man well beloved by the Lord,
He was true to be found in great Jehovah's word,
He stretched forth his hand, and took a knife to slay his son,
An angel appearing said, The Lord's will be done!
"The Masonic Hymn" by Anonymous British
In me the cave-man clasps the seer,
And garlanded Apollo goes
Chanting to Abraham’s deaf ear.
In me the tiger sniffs the rose.
Look in my heart, kind friends, and tremble,
Since there your elements assemble.
"In Me, Past, Present, Future meet" by Siegfried Sassoon

In news:

RI man's $100 bills had Abraham Lincoln's face on them instead of Benjamin Franklin 's.
On the day celebrating former president Abraham Lincoln's birthday, NewsHour guest essayist Julia Keller reflects on the puzzle of the man and the president.
Abraham Lincoln as Hollywood leading man .
The three clips provided by CNN each highlighted one of the "fundamentalist" branches of the three Abrahamic faiths: the segment on Jews focused on theocratic Israeli settlers, including the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin.
Abraham Lincoln said, "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives".
RI man's $100 bills had Abraham Lincoln's face on them instead of Benjamin Franklin's.
RI man's $100 bills had Abraham Lincoln 's face on them instead of Benjamin Franklin's.
Abraham Lincoln as Hollywood leading man.
(CBS News) The image of President Abraham Lincoln is usually that of a tall man with a booming voice.
Then, Abraham knocked the victim to the ground and began punching the man in the face and choking him, Rego said.
He said the man began losing consciousness when mall security officers intervened as Abraham was sitting on the man's chest while choking him.
The man who claims him and Dee Dee Moore cooked up rumors to explain the disappearance of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare.
A master public relations man, Pullman made sure that when President Abraham Lincoln died, a Pullman car returned his body to Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln was "emphatically, the black man's President," wrote the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1865, "the first to show any respect for their rights as men.
Abraham Lincoln as Hollywood leading man.