Many parents attach a lot of significance to the names they give their children. A name isn’t just a word you call another person by; a name is a story, an ode, a wish, a blessing or a conversation starter. It is the first piece of information available to another. Therefore, choosing Yoruba names requires a lot of thought and consideration.

Interesting things about naming children in Yorubaland:

A-Z Yoruba names for your kids (with meanings!)
A-Z Yoruba names for your kids (with meanings!)

The Yoruba’s have one the most interesting and the most complicated naming traditions in the world. A child naming ceremony is often organized seven days after the birth of the child. There the child’s unique identity is unveiled. In pre-colonial West Africa, parents from the Yoruba ethnic group relied on traditional priests to divine the child’s destiny and to choose a name that reflects the child’s destiny.

However, things have changed in the twenty-first century especially with the advent of Christianity and Islam. Parents grandparents and, in rare cases, family friends suggest beautiful Yoruba names for the baby. Often these names describe the circumstance surrounding the baby’s conception and birth.

Some of the most beautiful names available in this majority South Western and North-central Nigeria ethnic group are praise names, popularly called Oriki names. Such names are often bestowed upon children who have brought exceptional joy and pride to the family.

It is also important to consider that the Yorubas have interesting naming traditions for twins. In such cases, names are predetermined by the order of the baby’s arrival. Taiwo-- (a name that loosely translates to ‘pre-tasted the world’) — is the name given to the first twin. The second twin is named Kehinde; the name means ‘the one who lagged behind’.

There are lots of Yoruba names. To simplify your name search, we have compiled a comprehensive litany of trendy, religious, quaint or modern baby names. Enjoy choosing a creative name for your baby.

Yoruba names: names and meanings A-Z

A

Abimbola – born into riches

Abiodun – born on the day of a festival

Abebi - we requested for a female child

Aanuoluwakiishi – the mercy of God never ceases

Adelola- crowns bring honor

Ayoola- the delight of prosperity

Ayotola- joy is sufficient wealth

Ajayi – the one who was born with his or her face down

Apara – unique or unrivalled

Adesewa- the crown is gorgeous

Atinuke- the child who has been protected from the moment of conception

Ayotoluwafunmi- the joyfulness God has bequeathed me

B

Babatunji – our father has returned (or reincarnated)

Bisi- the family’s firstborn daughter

Bankole – build an abode for me

Bolade – honor will arrive

Bimpe - elegant and beautiful

Boluwatife – As it pleases God

Bosede- the daughter who was born on a Sunday

A-Z Yoruba names for your kids (with meanings!)
A-Z Yoruba names for your kids (with meanings!)

D

Damilola – blessed with remarkable riches

Durojaiye – the one who awaits life’s joys and blessings

Digiola – a reflection of wealth and riches

Dideolu - the rising of God

Durodola – be patient and wait for prosperity

E

Ebunoluwa – God’s gift

Enilo – the one who left

Eniola – wealthy person

Enitan – the one whose birth inspired a story

Eniolorunopa – the one whose life God will spare

Ekundayo – my sorrows have turned into joy

Ereola - wealth is important

Erioluwa - testimony of God’s goodness

Ewaoluwa – God’s beauty

F

Fadesewafunmi – give me beauty from the crown

Fehintiola - lean on wealth

Feyifoluwa – bequeath this child to God

Fijinoluwa - sanctified to God

Fiyinfoluwa - respect God

Folashade – make wealth a crown

G

Gbadebo – the child who delivers the crown

Gbekelolu – rely on God

Gbolagunte - mount the throne with wealth

Gbolahan - flaunt wealth

Gbowoade – collect the crown

A-Z Yoruba names for your kids (with meanings!)
A-Z Yoruba names for your kids (with meanings!)

I

Ifedayo – love becomes joy

Idunnuola – Happiness (or Joy)

Ibironke – the family has found a child to pamper

Ibiolagbajosi - where wealth converges

Ibiyemi – childbirth has brought me honor

K

Kikelomo – the one who is destined to be pampered

Kikiopefoluwa – It’s all glory to God

Kokumo – this child won’t die again

Koledowo - erect house in the hope of wealth

Kasewo – to ridicule someone

Kosoko – there is no hoe

Koyinsola – pour honey into wealth

M

Modupe; I give thanks

Mayowa – The one who invites happiness into the home

Mofeoluwa; I love God

Mobo – Freedom

Mofeoluwa – I love God

N

Naade – the male child born into royalty

Ninioluwalere – it pays to belong to God

O

Odunayo – joyful year

Obafemi - the king (or ruler) loves me

Olabisi – my joy has been multiplied

Ododo - flower

P

Pamilekunayo – the one who causes me to shed tears of joy

Pipeloluwa – perfect (or awesome) God

R

Remilekun – put an end to my grief

Ropo – come to save

T

Titilayo – eternal happiness

Titilope – eternal thanks

Tiwa – the one who has ownership of the throne

Tifeoluwa – it is the will of God

W

Wura – gold

Wuraola – gold of wealth

Y

Yewande – mother sought me

Yejide – mother has awoken

Yele – one who suits the family

Yetunde – mother has returned again (or reincarnated)

Workplace suitability used to be a determining factor when choosing Yoruba names for their children. Parents often agonized about the possibility of children losing job opportunities because a boss couldn’t pronounce their names. Those fears became baseless especially since successful artists began making waves, even with their native Yoruba names. A few examples include Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, David Oyelewo, Jide Kosoko and so on.

If you’re going to pick a Yoruba name for your child, don’t forget to choose a name that resonates well with you. Don’t worry about how other people might react to it. The significance and meaning of the name are arguably the most important considerations. And if anyone poses that timeless Shakespearean question, “What’s in a name?” shrug your shoulders and say, “Everything.”

Resource: BBC

Also Read : Best Nigerian baby names for girls

This article was first published on AfricaParent.com