In the ancient Hebrew calendar: the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the seventh of the civil year, corresponding to the latter part of March and the early part of April.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in The New Testament. Originally from Hebrew 'āḇīḇ (in ḥodeš ha-'āḇīḇ month in which the young ears of barley are formed, i.e. month of beginning of spring (Exodus 13:4, etc.) from ḥodeš month + ha- the + 'āḇīḇ young ear of barley (Exodus 9:31)).