Abū literally means father. When an Arab man had a child, he would often be called ‘Father of So-and-So’.
The Arabs also used ‘Abū’ to create nicknames based on something a man was famous for or associated with.
For example, in the Quraysh tribe, there was a rich and famous man named ʿAbd al-ʿUzzá. He had a handsome reddish glow to his cheeks, and he was known for his hot temperament. So people would call him Abū Lahab, literally meaning Father of Flame. An equivalent nickname in English might be something like Glitterati, The Flash, or Hotrod.