Yoruba baby names are rooted in West Africa’s rich cultural heritage. To the Yoruba, a name isn't just a word or an identity. It's an embodiment of lineage, history, and family. As per the Yoruba custom, Yoruba kids are named in a ceremony held seven days after birth. In ancient times, the names were found by divination performed by traditional Ifa priests, called Babalawo, locally. But now, the names are suggested by the ranking members of the family, which include the mother, father, grandparents, or relatives. A private ceremony is held for the parents and close family members where the child is bestowed the name. A public ceremony, with entertainment and feasting, is held by parents to celebrate the baby's arrival a few days after the private ceremony. Yoruba names are classified into five categories – Oruko Amutorunwa or destiny names, Oruko Abiso or acquired names, Oruko Oriki or Panegyrics, Oruko Abiku, and Oruko Inagije or alias. Many Yoruba believe a name can influence a child's behavior and destiny (1). Hence, choosing the right name for the child is considered a crucial responsibility of the parents. Parents seek guidance from elders and family members to fulfill this duty and select names that convey specific meanings or attributes. Yoruba girls are named after the circumstances in which their birth took place or as a reflection of the wealth they bring to their families. Modern or Christian parents use Christian forms of traditional names, while Muslim Yoruba parents give their children Arabic names with Yoruba phonetics. Other factors influencing parents' name choices include cultural values, numerology, aesthetic appeal, and pleasant sound. Moreover, Yoruba names are generally gender-specific, meaning specific names are reserved for boys and girls. Hence, knowing a name's meaning and cultural significance is crucial in Yoruba culture. Understanding this, we have curated a comprehensive list of the best Yoruba baby names with meanings.
|Abayomrunkoje||Boy||God won't allow humiliation|
|Abebi||Girl||We asked for a girl child|
|Abegunde||Boy||One born during the holiday|
|Abeo||Boy||The bringer of happiness|
|Abiade||Boy||One who is born to royal parents|
|Abidemi||Girl||A girl born during father's absence|
|Abidugun||Boy||One born before the war|
|Abiodun||Boy||One born at the time of festival|
|Abiola||Boy||Born in Honor; Born during the first days|
|Abiona||Girl||One who is born during a journey|
|Abioye||Boy||The son of royalty; A Variant of Abiola|
|Adankwo||Girl||One born on the fourth day|
|Adaoma||Girl||A good and virtuous lady|
|Adaora||Girl||Daughter of all|
|Adebamgbe||Boy||A Nigerian term meaning royalty dwells within me|
|Adebiyi||Boy||The royal one|
|Adedayo||Boy||The crown has turned to joy|
|Adefolake||Girl||Your wealth supports us|
|Adeleke||Unisex||Noble, brave, born into wealth, strong|
|Ademola||Boy||Crown is Added to My Wealth|
|Adeniyi||Boy||The value or honor of a crown|
|Adepero||Boy||The crown has brought peace|
|Aderiyike||Girl||The pampered crown|
|Adesanya||Boy||My pains have been compensated with the arrival of this child|
|Adeshola||Boy||One who is crowned to bring wealth|
|Adesina||Girl||She opens the way|
|Adesola||Boy||A child crowned with wealth|
|Adetayo||Boy||Crown has brought us great joy|
|Adetokunbo||Boy||A Nigerian name of Yoruba descent in which the word Ade means crown|
|Adetola||Boy||The crown can be measured to wealth|
|Adetope||Boy||The crown is worthy of praise|
|Adetosoye||Boy||The crown is entitled to the throne|
|Adeyemi||Unisex||Royalty or crown brings honor|
|Adisa||Boy||Clear spoken person|
|Adunni||Girl||A daughter of a sweet person|
|Aega||Girl||A palm bird; A tiny bird|
|Aina||Girl||Beautiful eyed woman|
|Akanni||Boy||Strong, brave warrior|
|Akin||Boy||Brave; Heroic; Man|
|Alake||Boy||One to be honored|
|Amoke||Girl||Loving stroke or to pet her|
|Apara||Boy||Matchless; Unique; Exclusive; Has no equivalent|
|Atinuke||Girl||One who has been taken care of right from conception|
|Ayinde||Boy||We gave praise and he came|
|Ayobami||Girl||One asking for wealth|
|Ayodele||Boy||Joy has returned; A variant of name Ayotunde|
|Ayokunumi||Girl||Overwhelmed with wealth|
|Ayomide||Unisex||My joy has arrived|
|Ayomisioluwakonitan||Girl||The Joy of the Lord will never diminish in my life|
|Ayoola||Girl||The joy of wealth|
|Ayotola||Girl||Joy is enough wealth|
|Ayotoluwafunmi||Girl||The joy that the Lord has given me|
|Ayotomiwa||Boy||Wealth has returned|
|Ayotunde||Unisex||Joy has returned; A variant of name Ayomide|
|Ayotundun||Girl||Joy is sweet|
|Ayowonuola||Girl||Joy enters wealth|
|Ayowunmi||Girl||A girl who loves joy|
|Babasolaf||Boy||Father's wealth has arrived|
|Babatunji||Boy||The father returns again|
|Bandele||Girl||Born Away From Home|
|Banjoko||Boy||Don't ever leave me|
|Bankole||Boy||Build a home for me|
|Bayode||Boy||He who brings joy with himself|
|Bayowa||Boy||He has come with joy|
|Bere||Girl||First daughter of the family|
|Bidemi||Girl||Born awaiting me|
|Bimpe||Girl||One who is gorgeous and beautiful|
|Bisi||Girl||She who is a first-born daughter in the family|
|Bmidele||Girl||A Yoruba term meaning follow me home|
|Bodunde||Girl||Came with christmas or one who was born during christmas|
|Bolade||Boy||Honor will come.|
|Bolanle||Girl||One who finds wealth at home.|
|Bolatito||Girl||A Yoruba term meaning how joy sanctifies me.|
|Boluwaji||Girl||Rise up with Lord|
|Boluwatife||Girl||As God wishes; One who follows the will of God|
|Bosede||Girl||A daughter that came to world on a Sunday|
|Bunmi||Girl||To be my gift|
|Busayo||Girl||Adds to joy|
|Damola||Boy||Mixed with wealth|
|Dideoluwakusidede||Girl||The coming of the lord is at hand|
|Diekololaoluwa||Girl||God's blessing isn't small|
|Diekololaoluwalayemi||Girl||The wealth of god in my life cannot be measured|
|Doyinsola||Girl||My wealth is sweet|
|Durojaiye||Boy||One who waits for the joy of life|
|Durosinmi||Boy||Wait to rest|
|Duru||Girl||Strong or firm|
|Emilohi||Girl||Only God is great|
|Emiola||Girl||The honorable one; An honorable man|
|Eniafe||Girl||A beloved man|
|Eniiyi||Girl||A person of integrity|
|Enitan||Girl||Person of the story or person with a history|
|Eriifeoluwa||Girl||The evidence of God's love|
|Eromidola||Girl||My thought has become wealth|
|Esupofo||Boy||The devil has lost|
|Eyitope||Girl||This is worthy of praise|
|Fadekunmi||Girl||Add crown to me or add crown for me|
Yoruba baby names carry profound meanings and cultural associations. They offer a captivating insight into the vibrant heritage of the Yoruba tribe and its people. If Yoruba culture's values and ethics resonate with you, the above list of Yoruba names with meanings has several options you may consider to name your baby. These names serve as an enduring connection to the past and hold relevance in the present. So pick a name as per preference and embrace the spirit of ancestral legacy.
Infographic: Culturally Significant Yoruba Baby Names
The Yoruba culture of Nigeria consists of philosophy, religion, and fascinating folktales. It's one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, with names of immense cultural significance. Exploring Yoruba names will give you a glimpse of rich traditions and beliefs. In this infographic, we've listed the most popular names from this culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which Yoruba names mean peace?
A popular Yoruba name that means peace is Alafia. It is a gender-neutral name. Ìdẹ̀raolúwa is another name that means ‘peace of god.’ Ifelayo is another Yoruba name that implies ‘love is peace.’
2. Are Yoruba names unisex?
Most of the names in Yoruba culture are unisex. Names like Bolu, Bola, Dare, Yinka, Tola, Sola, and Tade are unisex and are fully acceptable by the cultural law of this place. The Yoruba language classifies pronouns according to a person and number and not based on gender (2). However, you will also find many gender-specific names.
3. What are twins known as in Yoruba?
The first-born twin in Southwest Nigeria, irrespective of gender, is always called Taiwo. It means 'having the first taste of the world.' The second twin is called Kehinde. It implies 'arriving after the other.' Between both, the firstborn, or Taiwo, is regarded as the younger twin sibling (3 ).
4. Which Yoruba names mean favor?
In the Yoruba culture, Olúwasanmí means 'God favors me' or 'God rewards me.' It is made of olúwa, which means God; san, which means benefit or favor; and mí, which means me.
5. Which Yoruba names mean moon?
Kamari is an African name that means 'moon.’ It has many variations like Kamaria, Kam, and Mari. Mawu, in the Yoruba language, is also associated with the moon. It's the name of a creator goddess linked to the Sun and Moon.
6. What role do religious or cultural traditions play in selecting Yoruba baby names?
Religious and cultural traditions play a significant role in selecting Yoruba baby names. These names tell the story of the socio-economic backgrounds of families and showcase their religions and customs. Children are often named after significant cultural events surrounding their birth so they can recall the memories later. The names are important means of communication and sources of gender differentiation (4). There is also a tradition in the Yoruba culture about naming according to the background of a family, religion, or antecedents. Some examples include Ògúndìran, which means 'Ogun has become a living tradition in the family,’ and Ayanlowo, which means 'Ayan drumming tradition is honorable.'
7. What are the historical and cultural origins of Yoruba baby names?
According to the Yorubas, a given name has a profound effect. They have always believed that the name that a child bears can influence their entire life cycle from their behavior, profession, and success. From the beginning, Yoribas have regarded a name as representing the socio-economic and cultural characteristics, family background, occupation, place of origin, and political and economic class. Some examples of these names include Abiodun, which means 'born during a festival,' and Abosede, which means a child born on the first day of the week (5).
- Welcoming a New Life: Yoruba Naming Traditions.
- Yoruba names and gender marking.
- Yoruba customs and beliefs pertaining to twins.
- Yoruba personal naming system: Traditions patterns and practices.
- Yoruba names as a reflection of people’s cultural heritage.
Look Up For Many More Names
Do you have a name in mind and want to know more about it? Or want to find names belonging to a particular origin, religion, or having a specific meaning? Use our search tool below to explore more baby names with different combinations.