77 Traditional Ethiopian Baby Names With Meanings

Ethiopia is the land of coffee and delectable cuisines and has the second-largest African population after Nigeria. Ethiopians have a unique naming system. If you are looking for Ethiopian baby names, your search ends here. Here, children add the given names of their paternal grandfather and father successively to their names. Hence, the grandparent’s given name is used as a family surname, and the given name of a baby and their father form the first name. In this post, we bring you an extensive list of Ethiopian baby names that you can choose for your baby.

In This Article

Ethiopian Baby Names For Girls

1. Liya

Liya is essentially a Hebrew name familiar with the Ethiopians. Some even consider it as the Russian variant of Lily or Lia. It’s the first name of Ethiopian supermodel and philanthropist Liya Kebede. English speakers can spell this name as Lia or Leah.

2. Aida

Aida means happy

Image: IStock

This melodic name is associated largely with a Verdi opera about an enslaved Ethiopian princess who gives her life to save her people. The other namesake is Aida Turturro, who played Tony Soprano’s sister “The Sopranos”. The meaning of Aida is ‘happy’.

3. Nyala

Nyala is one of the most exotic sounding baby names. This Ethiopian name was given to a sultry character in a 1940s movie and has been popular ever since. The meaning of Nyala is ‘mountain goat’.

4. Zala

Zala is a simple, but sultry name, meaning ‘a person from southwest Ethiopia.’ Zala is the name of the character in the video game “Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom”, and it is quite easy to spell and pronounce as well.

5. Mazaa

Maaza is an Ethiopian term for the pleasant scent the yellow daisy flower, which is widespread in this country. Pronounced as ‘mah-zah’, this name came into the spotlight via the Ethiopian-American novelist Maaza Mengiste. The meaning of Mazaa is ‘aroma’.

6. Kia

Kia is a simple and sweet Ethiopian girl name that is now associated with a Korean car label. In the year 2013, 2100 girls were named Kia. And it’s way fresher that Thea, Nia, or Keira. The meaning of Kia is ‘season’s beginning’.

7. Marjani

The name Marjani is associated with Arabic name Marjina and is perhaps its variation. Its namesake, Marjani Satrapi is an Iranian graphic novelist best known for her work ‘Persepolis.’ The meaning of Marjani is ‘coral’.

8. Dani

Dani, the feminine form of Daniel and the diminutive of Danita and Danielle. It started as a short form, but now stands strong on its own for its androgynous and friendly quality.

9. Eshe

Eshe is the variant of Asha and is related to the Arabic name, Aisha. It’s on the rise in American states, along with names like Zoe, and Vivienne. It’s the middle name of Diani Greene, daughter of American rapper Talib Kweli. The meaning of Eshe is ‘life’.

10. Kamali

Kamali is an African spirit that protects babies from illness. It means ‘protector or spirit guide’. Its namesake is Norma Kamali, the famous designer. For boys, you can use Kamal, one of the 99 names of Allah.

11. Ife

Ife is a simple Ethiopian name that is practically unknown in Europe and the United States, and that’s why we think it will make a perfect choice. You can say it’s similar to Eva, Ava, or America. The meaning of Ife is ‘love’.

12. Zoya

Zoya is an East African origin name, meaning ‘dawn’. It’s popular not just in Ethiopia, but also Arabic countries. The whites consider Zoya as a Russia and Greek version of the name Zoe, and it’s widely used in the U.K, and the U.S. One poll says that it’s the number one name in Whales.

13. Nuru

Nuru is an evocative Ethiopian version of the Muslim name Noor. It means ‘born during the day’. The name is favored all over the world for its simplicity and its resemblance to the stylish, Western name Nora. Nuru Kane, the Senegalese singer, and songwriter, is the famous bearer of this name.

14. Aisha

Aisha is the name of Muhammad’s most favorite wife, which makes it a lovely name. It’s popular all over the world, within the Muslim community, including Ethiopia. What makes Aisha cooler is the myriad of variations it has, like Aicha, Ayesha, and Ayishah. Aisha Tyler, the famous television personality is its most famous namesake.

15. Neela

Neela, the variation of the name Nila, is spread throughout Ethiopia via the Indian population living in its vicinity. It’s a Sanskrit origin name and means ‘sapphire blue’. You can also consider its spelling variation Neila or Neala.

16. Abena

Ethiopians frequently name their children after the day of the week and the order in which they were born. The meaning of Abena is ‘born on Tuesday’, which make it a great option for girls born on this day.

17. Afia

Here’s another day-inspired name for you. Afia comes from the African language and means ‘born on Friday’. This name sounds so modern that even Americans can safely use it for their daughters. And if you want something more uncommon, use Afua.

18. Subira

Subira is an attractive Ethiopian name with a usual ‘S’ zest that is virtually unknown in the western world. Subira is both strong and soft and means ‘patience’.

protip_icon Did you know?
Genzebe meaning ‘heaven’ is another Ethiopian name for girls. Athlete, Genzebe Dibaba is a popular bearer of this name.

19. Taci

Taci is a strong, singular, and exotic Ethiopian baby name. It would make an excellent choice for your daughter, but only if you spell it phonetically. The correct pronunciation of Taci is ‘Tah-shee’.

20. Zuri

This Ethiopian name migrated to the female side when a zoo in Ohio used it for a female giraffe. This name has been on the rise ever since. and has gained 50 spots since it entered the top 500 list in 2013. Zuri Ross was the name of the character in a Disney show “Jessie”.

21. Amara

Amara is a stylish, sturdy, and attractive variation of the name Mary and means ‘grace or bitter’. It’s multicultural in the truest sense. It’s a Mongolian name meaning ‘peaceful’ and Sanskrit name, meaning ‘immortal’.

22. Maya

This mystical and exotic name has been steadily climbing the popularity charts. It’s the name of Greek mother of Hermes. Gate Maya Samuelsson, the Ethiopian-born model, is a famous bearer of this name.

23. Bathsheba

This name belongs to the daughter of the queen of Shea, the ruler of Abyssinia. The meaning of Bathsheba is ‘daughter of the oath’. It was also the name of the central character in Hardy’s novel “Far from the Madding Crowd’.

24. Edna

With the rise in the names honoring ancestors and dead family members, even Edna has resurfaced in the baby name list. This name is semi-biblical. It’s the name of the loving mother in the Apocrypha.

25. Kayla

This Arabic name came into popularity via the soap opera, “Days of our Lives”. It went on to become the 12th most popular name in the 1980s. Recently, it was heard in “Desperate Housewives’.

26. Jamila

Jamila is an Arabic origin name used widely in many African countries, including Ethiopia. Literary buffs would relate this name with Jamila Singer, a character in Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight Children’. It means ‘beautiful’.

27. Faizah

Faizah is an extremely exotic Arabic/African name, meaning ‘victorious’. There was a time when this name was rarely heard outside the Arabic community, but is now a favorite of the Ethiopian parents.

28. Habiba

Habiba is an Ethiopian name meaning beloved

Image: IStock

The name Habiba is popular in all Muslim dominated African regions, including Somalia and Ethiopia, and stand for ‘beloved’. Or you can choose Hababah, the daughter of Ajlan and the narrator of Hadith.

29. Makda

Makda is the Ethiopian version of the Hebrew name Magda, meaning ‘high tower’. The name feels a bit dated in front of its sisters, Magda, and Magdalene, but will make a unique moniker for your daughter.

30. Mariam

As Mary is sailing further out of style, her variations are becoming more and more popular. Mariam is the African and Arabic variant of the Biblical name Mary. Its alternate spelling variation is Maryam.

31. Lola

This name is inspired by the Ethiopian hip-hop artist Lola Monroe. She was also nominated for the best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards.

32. Akosua

Here’s another excellent option for people looking for a day-inspired name. Akosua is a Twi origin name, meaning ‘born’ on Sunday.

33. Baraka

Baraka is the female variant of the name Barak. Its positive meaning and resonant rhythm have made it hugely popular with the African families.

34. Anika

Anika is an adorable name tied with several cultures of Africa. It means ‘sweetness of face’.

35. Behati

Behati is the African version of Beatrice. It got a boost in popularity via the Namibian supermodel Behati Prinsloo. Behati means ‘she who brings happiness’.

36. Diarra

Diarra is a beautiful sounding Ethiopian name with a lovely meaning (gift).

37. Fana

Fana is a simple, unusual and delicate name, meaning ‘jungle’.

38. Halima

This African, Muslim name refers to the nurse of Prophet Muhammad. It means ‘gentle and humane’.

39. Kadida

Kadida is the African variation of the Arabic name Khadija. This name was used by Peffy Lipton and Quincy Jones for their daughter.

40. Izara

Izara is a beautiful and rhythmic baby girl name, meaning ‘section of tree’.

Ethiopian Baby Names for Boys

41. Abel

Abel belongs to Adam and Eve’s not so fortunate son. But it compensates itself with the positive connotations like ‘ready, willing, competent and capable’. It’s at #124. The two popular namesakes include movie directors Abel Ferrara and Abel Glance.

42. Yonas

Yonas or Yunus is the Arabic variation of Hebrew name Jonah. It belongs to the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by a large fish, but came out of it unharmed even after three days. We think it’s a perfect name if you are looking for something less common than Joshua or Jacob.

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Biruk is another popular Ethiopian name for baby boys that means ‘blessed.’

43. Amadi

This name, derived from one of the Ethiopian languages, feels a lot like the Arabic name, Ahmed. So we believe that it would make an attractive and original choice for people who are considering the name Ahmed. The meaning of Amadi is ‘tree man’.

44. Aaron

This globally popular and timeless Hebrew name has been on the top 50 list for two decades now. It’s the softness of the double vowel in Aaron that gives it a certain gentleness. In the Old Testament, Aaron is the elder brother of Moses.

45. Ahmed

Ahmed is one of the five hundred variations of the name Muhammad and means ‘greatly praised’. You can also opt for its spelling variant, Ahmad.

46. Negasi

Negasi means he will wear a crown

Image: IStock

If you are looking for a name that is entirely unheard of in America or Europe, go with Negasi. Negasi is not entirely obscure. In fact, it held the 225th spot last year. The meaning of Negasi is ‘he will wear a crown’.

47. Kofi

Kofi is an Ethiopian name, meaning ‘born on Friday’. You can say it’s a male version of Afia. Its noteworthy bearer is Kofi Anna, the seventh general secretary of the United Nations. He is also the recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

48. Abraham

Abraham, the name of the founding father of the Jewish people, is popular with the Ethiopians. This name has been famous right from its conception. The meaning of Abraham is ‘father of the multitudes.’

49. Hakim

Hakim, the variation of Arabic name Hakeem, would make a beautiful name for your son. It’s one of 99 Muhammad approved names of Allah. The meaning of Hakim is ‘judicious’. Its famous bearer is Hakim Abdul Olajuwon, the Nigerian-American basketball player.

50. Kaleb

Kaleb is the example of the C starting name given a new lease of time or made different by using K as the beginning alphabet. Around 3000 parents chose this name for their sons in Ethiopia, which speaks volumes about its popularity. Even Kevin Federline named his son Kaleb.

51. Alimayu

Alimayu is a distinctive Ethiopian baby name meaning ‘in honor of God’. Its popular bearer is Prince Alemayu of Ethiopia who ruled from 1861 to 1879. Famous actor Wesley Snipes chose this name for his son. You can shorten it to Ali for the nickname.

52. Salana

Salana is the Ethiopian version of the name Solana and means ‘sunshine’. This name sounds extremely bright, warm, and unique to say the least. This moniker saw some popularity in the United States as well. It reached as high as #459.

53. Panya

Panya is the diminutive of the Russian name, Pavel and means ‘small’. This multicultural name sounds extremely pleasing to the American and English-speaking ears. But in the Ethiopian language, this name translates to ‘rat’, which can be a turn-off for some parents.

54. Ajani

Ajani, meaning ‘the victor’, is a novel twist on the name Johnny. This mid-century name has a retro charm to it. You can shorten it to Aja for the nickname if you want.

55. Amari

Amari is very popular in Ethiopia for it vowel ending and soft sound. This name is related to words and names in a wide range of languages, like African, Thai, Hebre, and Yoruba, with a myriad of positive meaning. It reached the #265th spot for baby boy names.

56. Chinua

This Ethiopian name comes from the word Ibo, which means ‘blessing of God’. The most famous Chinua is probably Chinua Achebe, the author of “Things Fall Apart”, which is one of the bestselling books of the world.

57. Gyasi

Who doesn’t think their child is wonderful? Gyasi is a lovely name and means ‘wonderful baby’. This name has a rhythmic beat and originates in the Egyptian language.

58. Zesiro

Are you having twins or is it your first pregnancy? Then you can consider the name Zesiro, which means ‘firstborn of twins’. This name can be applied to a female baby as well.

59. Barack

This name, popularized by the 44th American president is an African name, meaning blessed. It’s derived from the Arabic name, meaning ‘Mubarak’. Some opine that it’s derived from Hebrew word ‘baruch’, which also means ‘who is blessed’.

60. Ebo

Ebo is a powerful Ethiopian baby name, meaning ‘born on Tuesday’. You can also opt for its alternative Ibo, which is equally striking, but its meaning is different. Ibo means ‘my people’.

61. Haji

Haji is a traditional Arabic name appropriate for boys born during the time of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim is expected to make at least once in his lifetime.

62. Kato

Kato is an Eastern African name, meaning ‘second of twin’. This name gained a lot of attention via the witness Kato Kaelin in the trial of O.J. Simpson. It’s also the name of a fictional character in “The Green Hornet”. You can even spell it as Cato to add more credibility to the name.

63. Selassie

Selassie is an Ethiopian name, meaning ‘trinity’. It’s mostly used as a suffix, as in Selim Selassie. Or you can use it as a middle name. This name is enjoying mass popularity internationally as well.

64. Salim

Salim means peace

Image: Shutterstock

Salim is an African name, meaning ‘peace’. This moniker is distinguished by its association with the renowned African diplomat, Salim Ahmed Salim. You can also spell this name as Salem.

65. Negus

Negus is a North Ethiopian royal name and means ‘he will be crowned’. It’s an older generation Ethiopian name, which was first used in the 17th century by the royal family of Ethiopia.

66. Taye

Taye is an Ethiopian baby name, meaning ‘he has seen’. You can also use it as a short form of Taylor. This name gained popularity after the emergence of actor Taye Diggs.

67. Shango

The name is much more substantial than it sounds. It’s the name of the god of thunder and the ancestor of the Africans. And Shango is also the name of a character in DC comics.

68. Omari

Omari is the Ethiopian version of the name Omar. Just like Amari and Omar, even Omari has been in the top 1000 baby names for several years, primarily because of its namesake Omari Hardwick. Did you know that Omari is the middle name of famous American rapper Kanye?

69. Kojo

The Ethiopians use the name Kojo for boys born on Monday. It’s also equivalent to the female name Adwoa. After taking a downturn in the last century, this moniker is one the upswing again.

70. Jonathan

This Old Testament has now started to replace the classic John, which was high on the list for several decades. In the Bible, Jonathan was the eldest son of King Saul.

71. Jemal

Jemal is the African version of the Arabic name, meaning ‘handsome’. This name is used in the United States for its memorable character, Jamal from “Slumdog Millionaire’. Jemal Pierre Johnson, the English-American soccer player is its namesake.

72. Ephrem

Ephrem is the Ethiopian variation of the Hebrew baby name Ephraim. It is the name of the second son of Joseph and the founder of an Israel tribe. This Old Testament name is high on the neglected Biblical possibilities.

73. Emanuel

Emanuel is the spelling variation of the name Emmanuel, which is more popular in Ethiopia. This name revived in its full glory in the year 2014. The meaning of Emanuel is ‘god is with us’.

74. Djimon

Djimon, pronounced as ‘Jee-mahn’ is a familiar Ethiopian name. Its namesake is Djimon Hounsou, the Oscar-nominated actor.

75. Genet

No one can even guess that Genet is an Ethiopian name. It sounds too much like a French name. Genet means ‘Eden’.

76. Zenebe

Here’s a winning African name that bridges cultures. This appealing name is well used in Ethiopia. You can shorten it to Zen for a cool nickname.

77. Daniel

Daniel is a perennial favorite name that hovers in the top 20 baby name list. It sounds both modern and classic, familiar, but is no way clichéd.

Discover More Names

When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does religion influence Ethiopian baby name selection?

Pagan, Christian, and Muslim religions are the most prevalent in Ethiopia; as a result, the religion influences the choice of baby names.

2. How do cultural values influence Ethiopian baby names?

Ethiopia has a rich cultural and linguistic history along with five official languages. All these factors contribute to influencing baby names.

3. How do Ethiopian baby names differ from other African baby names?

Ethiopian baby names often have religious or Biblical origins, while other African baby names may draw inspiration from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Additionally, Ethiopian names often incorporate words that express qualities, aspirations, or blessings for the child.

4. How do Ethiopian baby names reflect the country’s diversity?

Ethiopian baby names reflect the country’s diversity through their regional and ethnic variations, with different names originating from various Ethiopian tribes, languages, and cultural traditions. This diversity showcases the rich tapestry of Ethiopia’s multicultural heritage and identities.

Ethiopia is rich in culture and traditions. Ethiopian naming system is unique, and their names are peculiar and meaningful. This elaborate list of Ethiopian baby names is based on their rich heritage. These names add pride, independence, faith, and a sense of history to their personalities. People who do not belong to the country but are amazed by the culture can also use these names for their children. Pick a name that would suit your preference from this extensive list of Ethiopian baby names.

Infographic: Ethiopian Baby Names With Meanings

The landlocked country of Ethiopia has and is known for its coffee production and tempting cuisines. So, inspired by the culture and history, we have put together a list of Ethiopian baby names and their meanings in the following infographic. You can keep this handy and also share it with your friends.

ethiopian origin baby names (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • The Ethiopian naming system follows a unique rule and adds the name of the paternal grandfather and father after the baby’s first name.
  • Some girl names, such as Dani, Kamali, and Zoya, are popular all over the world.
  • Boy’s names like Abel, Ebo, and Jemal are well-loved by Ethiopian parents.

Ethiopian Baby Names_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

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Arshi Ahmed
Arshi AhmedMA (English)
Arshi Ahmed did her graduation from Shri Shikshayatan College, Kolkata, and post graduation in English from Lovely Professional University. With nearly four years of experience, she specializes in writing baby names articles as she loves to help new parents find a name for their child.

Read full bio of Arshi Ahmed
Srija holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Calcutta and a PG Diploma in Editing and Publishing from Jadavpur University. Her interest in editing ranges across niches, including academics, human psychology, and child development.

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Praggya Joshi holds a bachelor's degree in Education and a master's in Ancient Indian History from University of Delhi. She has a robust knowledge of literature, society, and ethics. Praggya has been a content writer since 2021, researching and writing on education, health and wellness, and travel.

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