Somalia is a country in Eastern Africa, located in the Horn of Africa. The country is known for its rich culture, reflected in its baby names. Therefore, the Somali baby names offer a unique pick if that is what you’re after. Somalian baby names are traditional and beautiful. Their names have three parts: the first is a given name, the second and the third refer to the father’s and the baby’s paternal grandfather’s names, respectively. These names are designed in a way to reflect the baby’s ancestry. Even celebrity names, names honoring elders and other relatives are also common. Since neighboring countries influence Somalia’s traditions, their names are unique and rare in the United States or other Western countries. So, if you wish to have a rare moniker for your baby, Somalian names would be a great choice.
Somali Girl Names
Aamiina is the Somali form of Aminah and means ‘feel safe’. It was originally the name of Prophet Muhammad’s mother, who died when he was a young boy.
Amburo is a Somali surname, but can be used as a girl’s name also. Yes, it may sound a bit unusual initially, but since it’s similar to Amber, it wouldn’t be very hard to assimilate.
Astur is a gorgeous and feminine name, meaning ‘to cover or to conceal’. It is fashionable in all the African countries, including Somalia.
Speaking of gorgeous names, Axado is another attractive option. Meaning ‘Sunday’, Axado would be a perfect name to give to girls born on this happy day.
This name would work well for babies of any background. It is sweet, soft, and will fit well with the sassy and multicultural names of today. Axlam means ‘witty or imaginative’.
Ayaan is an Arabic name for boys but is used for girls in Somali. It’s familiar, yet uncommon, easy to pronounce and spell. Overall, Ayaan is a very attractive name. It means ‘lucky, fortunate, or bright’. It’s male version is Ayanle.
Barkhado is one of the most familiar Somali names, not heard even in the States yet. It means ‘sunbeam’.
Barwaaqo, meaning ‘prosperous’, is a distinctive candidate for the name for your little princess.
Beydaan is a cool Somali name that would be easy to use in America. It is taken directly from the vocabulary word for ‘almond’. Beydaan is possibly derived from the Persian word ‘badam’, which means almond.
Bilan is one of the Somali baby girl names, meaning ‘first born’, is usually given to the first born baby girl in a family.
Lyrical and sweet Bilqiis makes a wonderful name for a baby girl. Bilqiis or Bilquis as it’s more popularly known is the Arabic name of Queen of Sheba. It means ‘desert or wasteland’.
Bishaaro, means ‘delight or joy’, a powerful and positive sentiment. It conjures images of a happy-go-lucky girl swinging with her friends in her backyard.
Caaisho is a downright adorable name, and we’d love to see it on your baby girl. It’s probably the Somali version of the Arabic name Ayesha. Meaning ‘long living’, it’s also the name of Muhammad’s most favorite wife.
It’s a Somali version of Aliyah and means ‘exalted’. We’re surprised that a name as trendy as Caaliyah hasn’t made to the top 1000 list.
Calaso, meaning ‘fair skinned’, is usually given to girls who are born with a light complexion. It’s an absolutely gorgeous name and would wear well on girls back on the mainland.
Canab is a Somali word for grape. It’s an old-world Somali name, but would sound fresh to American and European ears. In Somali names, C is silent. So you must pronounce Canab with an ‘aahh’ sound.
If you are looking for a name that’s fun to say, pick Casho, which means ‘life’. It has a modern sound and looks very trendy when written.
Impeccably stylish, Cawo should be a rage by now, but instead, it is an under-the-radar choice. Cawo is a Somali word, meaning ‘luck’. We’re hoping it would bounce higher soon.
Faduma is the Somali version of Fatima and means ‘to abstain’. You can also opt for its spelling variation Fadumo. How would Faddy sound as a nickname for Faduma? Chic or cheeky?
With its lovely sound and powerful meaning, Fawzia could make a great import. This name is the Somali version of Fawziyya and means ‘victorious’.
Parents want their kids to have the optimum chance of success. We’re sure even you want the same for your daughter. So why not set her on the right path by naming her Fowsio, which means ‘success?
This Somali name has one of my most favorite meanings ‘the one who helps’. This name will inspire your daughter to be kind and helpful to others.
Hani is an attractive and underused Somali name, meaning ‘happy’. You can use this name as a short form of Hannah as well. It’s most famous bearer is Hani, the Korean singer of EXID group.
Melodic, lyrical, and overlooked, Haweeyo, could make a unique tribute to your Somali relatives. And it has a lovely meaning as well, ‘the elevated one’.
It’s the Somali form of Hiba and means ‘gift from Allah’. While pronouncing the letter ‘q’ of this name, your tongue should touch the roof of your mouth.
Hodan is one of the most common traditional Somali names and means ‘wealthy or rich’. It has an attractive sound and an appealing meaning and image.
Simple plus unusual is always a winning combination, right? So how does Hoodo, meaning ‘luck or fortunate’ sounds to you? “The Lord of the Rings” fans may like it for its similarity with Hodor.
Idil is both Somali and Turkish name and means ‘perfect or complete’. Its namesake is Idil Biret, a Turkish concert pianist, best known for her interpretations of the Romantic repertoire.
If you want a traditional Somali name that is not overly familiar, pick Isniino, which means ‘born on Monday’. As the meaning suggests, this name is usually given to girls born Monday.
Jamilah is a soft and appealing name, with a whiff of vanilla. Your daughter will share her name with Jamila Singer, one of the characters in Salman Rushdie’s novel, “Midnight’s Children”. Jamilah means ‘beautiful’.
If you are looking for a gemstone inspired name for your daughter but don’t want to settle for the generic name Jewel, you can opt for Jawaahir, which also means ‘jewelry’. This name is usually seen as a symbol of how valuable and precious a daughter can be. This Somali form of Jawahir gained popularity by Jawaahir Axmed, the Somali-American model.
This Somali form of Khadija means ‘premature child’. This name holds a special place in the Muslim community as it was the name of Prophet Muhammad’s first wife.
Khadra is an earthy Somali name, meaning ‘lucky or fortunate’. Its famous bearer is Yasmina Khadra, an Algerian author. Besides, Khadra is also the name of a town in Algeria.
Here’s an exquisite name for your baby girl. The name Ladan means ‘healthy’.
Some names can never go out of vogue and Leylo is one of them? Does it ring a bell? Yes, you got it right! Leylo is the Somali variation of Layla and means ‘night’.
This name sounds as if it’s ripped straight from Disney’s fairy tale. Meaning ‘early flowering’, Magool would be an apt name for a spring baby.
Don’t you think Meelaaney would make a trendy name for your daughter? It has also been on the popularity charts in Somalia for years. Meelaaney means ‘on the road to success’.
This chic and love name, meaning ‘us’ is famous all over Africa. One of its famous namesakes is Nala, Simba’s wife in Disney’s “The Lion King’.
Any name that has ‘x’ in it is bound to sound cool. Same is the case with Nasteexo, which means ‘advise or counsel’.
Children fill the lives of their parent will a pleasant fragrance, just like flowers in a garden. Name your darling daughter Obax, which means ‘flower’. You have to agree that it’s one of the least common floral names.
Sagal, meaning ‘morning rays of the sun during the rainy season’ is usually given to baby girls born during the rainy season. Definitely a fresh change from Rainy and Raina.
Sahra literally translates to ‘desert’ in Arabic and Turkish language. But as a given Somali name, it’s probably a variation of Arabic names Zahra and Zahrah.
Shamshi is another option for modern parents. It is an Old Persian name, meaning ‘my sun or sunshine’. Nowadays, this name is used as a surname in Somalia and the Middle East.
Uba is sleek, simpler and more accessible than most of the names on this list. Meaning ‘flower’, Uba is generally given to baby girls who were born whilst surrounded by fragrant flowers.
Ugbad is a relatively new Somali name, meaning ‘bouquet of roses’. This gentle and quirky name summons visions of a lawn party, where flower bouquets grace each dinner table.
This one has more zip and life that most of the floral names we have come across. And ironically, this name means ‘desert flower’.
Xaawo is a prime example of a name that’s too stylish on one side of the Atlantic than the other. It’s the Somali version of the name Eve and means ‘living or lively’.
Xalwo, named after a Somali dessert is, is an attractive moniker with a contemporary sound. It means ‘sweet’.
As they say, the best gift parents can give to their children is freedom of choice. Assert the same by naming your daughter Xoriyo, which means ‘freedom’.
Yasmiin is the Somali form of Yasmin and means ‘jasmine’. In the English speaking world, it’s used as Jasmine.
Somali Boy Names
This name is definitely heating up. Aaden is Somali for the widely used Biblical name Adam. It’s quite common among the Somali males as first, middle, and last name. Aaden means ‘to make’.
Abdirrahim is the Somali form of the Arabic name Abdurrahim. It means ‘servant of the most merciful’. You can use Abdi for the nickname.
This antiquated still holds some modern appeal. Abdiraxman is the Somali for Arabic name Abdur Rahman, one of the 99 names of Allah. It means ‘servant of divine grace’.
Abdullahi is the Somali form of Abdullah and means ‘servant of God’. It’s originally a variation of the name Abdul, which is widespread in the Muslim countries as it was the name of both father and son of Prophet Muhammad.
Absame is originally the name of a sub-clan of Somali Darod clan whose members reside in Kenya, Ethiopia and of course, Somalia. Parents belonging to this clan often call their children Absame. It means ‘the great one’.
Abshir is a Somali word for ‘congratulations’. This moniker sounds beautiful, is easy to spell and pronounce, and has a positive meaning as well. So go ahead and use it for your son.
Asad, also spelled as Assad, is a widely used Arabic name meaning ‘lion’. It’s also used as a nickname for some Muslim names. For instance, Asad was the nickname of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Its current famous bearer is Audrey Assad, the American singer, and songwriter.
Axmed is the Somali form of the Arabic name Ahmed. Don’t you think it’s better than the original? The ‘x’ in the middle is giving an extra zest to the name. And it doesn’t sound dated or old fashioned even a wee bit.
This moniker is derived from the Somali word ‘bare’, which means ‘teacher’. It got famous via its association with Mohamed Siad Barre, the president and military ruler of Somali from 1969 to 1991.
Bashiir is the Somali version of Arabic name Bashir. There isn’t much difference between the two, expect for an extra ‘i’ in the middle. This name is used by both Christians and Muslims in its original form as a personal or family name. Bashiir means ‘bringer of good news’.
In Somali, this name is derived from the word burhaan, which means ‘charisma’. But in Arabic, this name means ‘proof’.
Cabdi is a highly popular nickname amongst the Somali men. This name basically originates from the prefix ‘abd’ and means ‘servant’. You can use Cabdi as a nickname for names like Cabdullahi, Cabdullah, Cabdulmajiid, or Cabdulqaadir.
Cabdulmajiid is the Somali form of the Arabic name abed al-Majid. It’s composed of the elements ‘cabd’, which means ‘servant’ and ‘majid’ and ‘glorious’ or ‘exalted’. Therefore, the name means ‘servant of the glorious’.
Caweys is a beautiful Somali name, meaning ‘night’. It’s a modern Somali name, so its roots are not in the Quran or any holy book.
This moniker, meaning ‘replacement’, is usually given to a male whose older brother or father has passed away. It’s straightforward in pronunciation and spelling and does not even require a short form.
Cilmi is an ancient Somali name, but is periodically used in other parts of Africa as well. This name is taken from the Somali word cilmi, which means ‘learning or knowledge’. A very positive name to bestow on your son.
Attracted by the simplicity and sweetness of Omar, but not its softness? Well, then Cumar could be a zesty alternative. Cumar is the Somali form of a widely familiar name Omar, which means ‘speaker or eloquent’.
Daahir derives from the Somali word, meaning ‘religiously pure’. This name had just a few hundred takers last year, which is quite surprising for such a likeable name. Outside Somalia, Daahir is usually spelled as Dahir.
Dalmar is a strong and powerful name with the correct amount of tenderness. And as we are heading into an era of short and vigorous names, Dalmar could be an intriguing pick. It means ‘versatile, adaptable, or many-sided’.
Want your son to be brave and courageous when he’s all grown up? The pick Diric, which connotes heroism and courage in Somalia. It’s derived from the Somali word ‘diric’, which means ‘fearless, daring, and bold’.
Erasto, meaning ‘man of peace’, embodies a gentle spirit.
Faarax is an old and not much used Somali name. Do not confuse it with the Arabic name Faraz.
Filsan, meaning ‘the best of his or her age’, is normally given to females, but can be used for males as well.
Geesi means ‘courageous man, hero, brave’, traits that you want your son to grow up with. The only concern is that it may sound feminine to some people.
Geedi is a familiar, but still an unusual choice in Somalia, even among the non-Muslim families. It means ‘traveler’ and is usually given to babies who are born while the parents were traveling.
This name comes from the Somali word ‘gurey’, which means ‘left-handed’. Gurey is usually used as an adjective in the Somali language, but can be used as a name as well.
Guuleed is a royal Somali name that is confined within its own culture. It means ‘victor’.
Ibraahin, the Somali form of Abraham, is now considered archaic. It was borne by Ibraahin Adeer, the first sultan of the Sultanate of Geledi, a Somali kingdom that ruled some parts of African from the 17th century to 1910s.
Iimaan is the Somali form of the name Imaan. One of the most notable bearers of this name is Somalia-born American model Iiamaan.
Ismaaciil is a Somali form of Ishmael and means ‘God will hear’.
The name Liban, meaning ‘preserve’ in the ancient Arabic language is used predominantly in the Northern region of Somalia, which is now called Somaliland. It’s usually given to baby boys who look handsome at the time of their birth.
The meaning of Magan is ‘protection or refuge’.
Mohamed, in its several variations, is one of the most popular names, in not just Somalia, but every Muslim country worldwide. In Somali, its variation Maxamed is most popular.
Meaning ‘born between seasons’, Nadifa has a gentle feel of the breeze through the trees.
Rooble is derived from the Somali word ‘roob’, which means ‘rain’. Rooble, on the whole, means ‘one who brings rain’ or ‘rain man’.
The prefix shar, means ‘evil’ and ‘maarke’ means ‘protection’. Hence, the name means ‘protect from evil’. Somalis believe that by bestowing this name, God will protect their sons from the evil.
A lovely name for a whip-smart boy. Shermarke means ‘one who brings good fortune’.
Suleymaan, meaning ‘peace’, is the Arabic form of Hebrew name Solomon. This moniker has shed its long, white beard image and has started being accepted by modern parents.
This name comes with its own cheer as it means svery cheerful (sunshine).
Tahliil is a balanced name, meaning it balances the material and spiritual well within itself. Your baby will be a bountiful of balance, and radiate the same onto others.
Tadalesh is an intriguing Somali name, though American and European tongues may have trouble pronouncing it. It means ‘lucky’.
Taifa is a stately name, meaning ‘nation or tribe’.
The meaning of Tawfiiq is ‘success’. So expect your son to be accomplished in each of his endeavors.
If you are looking for a comfortable and old-fashioned Somali name, pick Warsame, which means ‘good news’.
This Somali name has an ear-pleasing softness. It means ‘beloved’.
Xidig, meaning ‘star’, would be a perfectly suitable name for your son. Your son will strive hard to live up to his name and make you and your partner proud.
Xirsi is derived from the Somali word, meaning ‘safeguard’. In non-African countries, this name is spelled as Hirsi.
Xuseen, the Somali form Husayn, would make a cool name for your son.
The meaning of Yasir is ‘prosperous’. In its variation, this name is tied with Yasser Arafat, a former Palestinian leader.
Yuusuf is the Somali form of Joseph and means ‘God increases’. Its variation Yusuf is one of the top 1000 names in the US Social Security Administration list.
This powerful Somali baby name is worthy of both politician and sports star. It means ‘splendid’.
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 old are Somalis?
Somalis first appeared in southern Ethiopia around 1200 A.D., then relocated to northern Kenya 150 years later (1). They then proceeded north, eventually occupying the Horn of Africa. In the 1550s, many Somalis were influenced by Arab merchants and business people and were converted to Islam. Even to date, more than 99% of the Somali population follows the Sunni school of thought under Islam (2).
2. How do Somalis get their last name?
Somalis are widely identified by their first and last names. For example, Hirad Yunis Tubeec is coined by combining the first names of an individual, father, and grandfather. The paternal grandfather’s first name is the child’s last name (3). And, as women rarely alter their last names when they marry, married parents and their children usually have varying last names.
3. How are Somali children named?
Somali children usually do not have family names. Instead, they have a series of names containing the names of their father, grandfather, and other ancestors. If the parents and caregivers of a child cannot come to a consensus regarding the child’s name, the child may have two or three different names. Moreover, Somali children could have different names depending on the place or region they live (3).
4. What are the unique old Somali names?
Somali names derived from Cushitic origins are unique. These names include Awaale, Waabberi, Arale, Awa, Cawo, and Ambro (4).
5. How do Somali names differ for males and females?
Somali males are given a first name followed by the name of the father, grandfather, and so on. Females are also named similarly. However, women usually do not change their names after marriage. Hence, the last names of a husband and wife could be different, and the child could have the father’s name (4).
6. Are there any famous people with Somali names?
Jawahir Ahmed, Abdi Bile, Abdisalam Aato, and Iman Abdulmajid are some famous Somali people.
7. What is the role of family and community in choosing a Somali baby name?
Somali families are very close-knit and consider all responsibilities to be communal. The whole family and community is involved in not only choosing a baby’s name but also in the child’s parenting and upbringing (5).
8. What are some common themes or motifs found in Somali baby names?
Some of the most common Somali names are dedicated to God. They either praise Him or describe other characteristics, qualities, and virtues. Other names could be based on nature, geography, a certain quality, or even gemstones.
9. How do Somali baby names compare to names from other African cultures?
While other African cultures may give their children their family’s last name, Somali people name their children after their father, grandfather, and so on. However, each African country has a different culture and its naming conventions.
Many parents want a classic name that reflects their culture and traditions for their child. However, they are also keen on choosing a novel and unique name. For such parents, Somali baby names are a good choice. These names reflect the rich customs and ancestry of Somalia. So, take a look at this list of Somali names and meanings provided and choose the one that resonates with you. Also, ensure the name suits your child’s personality and that they will appreciate it when they are older.
Infographic: Popular Baby Names Of Somali Origin
Situated in Eastern Africa, Somalia is a Muslim-dominating country. Therefore, their names carry the essence of the Arabian language with the traditional Somali culture. Look at the infographic below for some popular Somali names you may choose for your little one.
- History of Somalia; Joshua Project.
- 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom: Somalia; U.S. Department of State
- Somalia: Information on the naming of children; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
- Somali Culture: Naming
- Somali Culture: Family