Urhobo Names and their Meanings

Urhobo Names

This is a wealth of information about Urhobo names produced by Aruegodore Oyiborhoro of Long Island, New York, USA.  Its a great place to start when thinking about naming your child and contributes to the preservation of Urhobo language and culture.

Every Urhobo name given to a child has a meaning attached to it. Urhobo people believe that a child lives up to the likeness or meaning of the name that she or he bears. For instance, there is a general belief that if a ‘thief’ is the name of a child that child may grow up to be a ‘rogue.’ If, on the other hand, your child is given a name that suggests a ‘rich person,’ there is the belief that such a child invariably grows up to be a wealthy individual. Urhobo parents are therefore very careful of the names that they give to their children.

For the most part, grandparents or close older relatives have the privilege of giving names to new-borns. This is usually an honour. However, unlike some of their ethnic neighbours, Urhobo people do not have any special naming ceremonies that require performing certain rites. Apart from the parents and grandparents, traditionally Urhobo rarely allowed new-borns to be touched or sometimes seen directly by others until the age of three months. Mother and child are usually strong enough to have an outing at this age. This involves visiting the in-laws and other close relatives. At this time, the child should have an established given name. A birth registry is a recent notion in Urhobo, traditionally, Urhobo parents do not “count” the number of their children. Parents are not permitted by Urhobo cultural practices to count their children. The number of fingers often represents a count of one’s children.

Urhobo names have deep meanings. Names are not mere labels, as they are in some other societies. Many Urhobo names invoke  SPIRITUAL or religious significance. Sometimes we give names to connote a  CHALLENGE  to self or others. Urhobo people thrive best when challenged. We also give names as a celebration and  APPRECIATION  of the gift of a child itself. Several Urhobo names reflect honour and  ACHIEVEMENT. Certain names are simply PHILOSOPHICAL, while others are GENDER specific. The Urhobo  also give names that emphasise the importance of PEOPLE as an important RESOURCE. Sometimes names are given to denoteSPECIAL DAYS, especially if the individual was born on that specific day.

The Urhobo are a very republican people. They work very hard to acquire wealth and fame in an old-fashioned way. Your wealth is as good as its source. Urhobo will investigate the source of your wealth. If it is suspect, you stand to lose your respect, dignity and fame. A good number of Urhobo names have to do with WEALTH AND  MONEY.

Names are also given to denote COLOURS, WEATHER conditions, NATURAL  RESOURCES and PLACE of  origin or where born.

The list that follows contains  a sample of some common Urhobo names. It must be pointed out that a few of the names under GENDER are not so common any more. The names are placed in categories. Each category contains the long form, short form, gender, and meaning attached to each name. Urhobo names are sometimes sentences or even phrases.  The ‘long forms’ may in fact be the ‘short forms’ of the actual long names. The ‘short forms’, therefore, are in some cases doubly short forms of the real names. However, the actual meanings of the names are never in doubt. Some of these names may belong to cross categories warranting repetition in some cases. This is deliberate.  Most Urhobo names start with vowels in the initial position except where abbreviated.

Names with SPIRITUAL or RELIGIOUS Significance

NAMESSHORT FORMSGENDERMEANINGS
AkpenvwogheneAkpenvweUnisexPraise God
AnaborhiNaborhiUNISEXBe born with good destiny
EdeworDeworMaleSacred day of worship in traditional religion
EjirogheneEjiroUnisexPraise God
EjokparogheneJokpa or  OgheneUnisexLet’s trust in God
EjomafuvweJomafuvwe or JomafuUnisexLet peace reign in my life
Enohor/ElohorNohor or LohorFemaleBlessing
ErhiaganomaErhi or RhiaganomaMaleGuardian spirit overpowers the body
ErhimeyomaOyomaUnisexMy guardian spirit (God) is good
ErhinyojaRhinyoja or OnyojaUnisexGuardian spirit (God) meets our challenges (hears our prayers)
ErhinyuseUseUnisexGuardian spirit (God) answers prayers
ErhirogheneErhi or OgheneUnisexThe spirit of God
EseogheneEseUnisexGod’s gift
EserovweEse or OvweUnisexGod’s grace or Free gift
OghenebrumeBrumeUnisexGod decided in my favour
OghenechovweChovwe or OgheneUnisexGod aided me
OghenefejiroOfejiro or OgheneUnisexGod is praiseworthy
OghenegarenGaren or OgheneUnisexGod is great
OghenekevweKevwe or OgheneUnisexGod gave (provided for) me
OghenekohwoOghene or KohwoUnisexGod provides
OghenemeOme or OgheneUnisex My God
OghenemineMine or MimiUnisexI look up to God
OghenenyoreNyore or OgheneUnisexGod answers prayers
OgheneruemuOgheneUnisexGod makes things possible
OghenerukevweRukevwe or RuksUnisexGod did this for me
OghenerunoOruno or RunoUnisexGod has so much (great)
OghenetegaTega or OgheneUnisexGod is worship-worthy
OghenevwedeOghenede or OgheneUnisexGod owns the day
OghenevwogaganGaga or OgheneUnisexGod provides all strength
OghenochukoOchuko or OgheneUnisexGod provides my support
OkerogheneOkeoghene or OgheneUnisexGod’s own time
OmamerhiMamerhi or OmaUnisexGood guardian spirit
OnakpomaOnoUnisexWho creates life?
OnomavweOnoUnisexWho is my creator?
OnomineOno or MimiUnisexWhom do I look up to?
Onovughakpor Ono or OnovugheUnisexWho can predict what life can bring?
OyovwikemoKemo or YovwikeUnisexMay our children be blessed
OyovwikerhiKerhi or YovwikeUnisexMay my guardian spirit (God) be blessed

Names with  CHALLENGE  Connotations

AchojahAchojahMaleRise up to challenge
AruegodoreEgodoMaleWe have come (established) home
EdojahDojahMaleDay of challenge
EfeminiEfeMaleLet’s see how wealthy you can be
EfetoboEfeUnisexWealth is achieved
EfetoboreToboreMaleWealth has now been achieved
EtanomareTanomare or NomareUnisexFreed from blame (despair)
IghomuedafeIgho or DafeMaleMoney intoxicates the wealthy
MiriodereMiriodeUnisexI now have a name
MitaireMitaiUnisexI have achieved (reached) their match
MivwodereMivwodeUnisexI now have a name
OboganriemuOboganMaleBe strong to survive (eat)
OgbamremuOgbaMaleThe brave meets a lot of challenges
OjakorotuJakorotu or OrotuMaleThis is a group challenge
OjanomareJanomaUnisexI have met the challenge
OnajiteOjiteUnisexThis is sufficient
OnanojahOnojahMaleThis is a challenge
OnogaganmueOno or OgaganMaleWho is intoxicated with power?
OnoharheseNoharheseUnisexWho blames good deeds?
UdumebrayeUdume or DumebrayeMaleMy presence gives them heartache (challenge)

Names with ACHIEVEMENT Connotations

NAMESSHORT FORMSGENDERMEANINGS
EdafetanureTanureMaleThe wealthy have spoken
EfemenaEfeUnisexHere is my wealth
EfemuayeEfeMaleThose intoxicated with riches
EfetoboreToboreMaleWealth has now been achieved
EtanomareTanomare or TanomaMaleFreed from blame / despair
EtaredafeDafeMaleWords of the wealthy
IghomuedafeIgho or DafeMaleMoney intoxicates the wealthy
IghovavwerheIghoMaleThere is joy in riches
IrikefeKefeMaleFirst to become wealthy
Miriodere / MivwodereMiriode or MivwodeUnisexI now have a name
MitaireMitaireUnisexI have reached their match
OdafeDafeMaleRich individual
OdavwaroOdaroUnisexI am contented
OghomenaOgho or OmenaUnisexHere is my respect
OghonoroOgho or OnoroUnisexRespect is greater than gold (riches)
OkagbareKagbareMaleNow I have all styles / skills
Omonigho  Omo or IghoUnisexChild is greater than riches
Omonoro Omo or OnoroUnisexChild is greater than gold
Onajite Ojite or JiteUnisexThis is sufficient
OnogaganmueOgagan or OnoMaleWho is intoxicated with prowess (power)?
OrodenaOrodeMaleThe great one

Names with Connotations of APPRECIATION

NAMESSHORT FORMSGENDERMEANINGS
AkpenvwogheneAkpenvweUnisexPraise God
EjirogheneEjiro or OgheneUnisexPraise God
EseogheneEse or OgheneUnisexGod’s gift
NoriogheneNorienUnisexLook at God’s judgment
OghenebrumeBrumeUnisexGod decided in my favour
OghenechovweChovwe or OgheneUnisexGod supported me
OghenefejiroOfejiro or OgheneUnisexGod is praiseworthy
OghenekevweKevweUnisexGod gave me (this child)
OghenenyerhovwoNyerhovwo or  OgheneUnisexGod answers prayers
OghenerhoroOgheneUnisexGod is great
OgheneruemuOgheneUnisexGod makes things possible
OghenerukevweRukevwe  or  RuksUnisexGod did this for me
OghenerunoRuno or OrunoUnisexGod has done so much (great)
OghenetegaTegaUnisexGod is worship worthy
OghenochukoOchuko or OgheneUnisexGod provides my support
OnoharheseNoharheseUnisexWho blames good deeds?
OyovwikerhiKerhi or YovwikeUnisexMay my guardian spirit (God) be blessed

PHILOSOPHICAL  Names

NAMESSHORT FORMSGENDERMEANINGS
AkpobomeAkpoboUnisexMy own life
AkpofureOfureMaleLife is now peaceful.
AkporovwovwoAkpovwovwoUnisexGood life in later years
AnaborhiNaborhiUnisexBe born with good destiny
AsaroyomaSayomaFemaleComfort zones(people prefer comfort zones)
AtaikiruTaikiruMaleTalk (plan) before taking action
AvwunudiogbaUnudiogbaUnisexThose who profess strength with mere talk
EdaferierhiEdafeMaleThe rich have good destiny
EdemirukayeEde or DemirukaiMaleThe day I did them a favour
EghwrudjakporJakpor or EghwrudjeUnisexI have come to stay / Stranded in this world
EguonoGuonoUnisexLove
EjaitaJaitaUnisexLet them say
EjoyovwiJoyovwiUnisexLet it be good ( a success)
EmarejedjeOmare or EjedjeUnisexThe elderly also run for life
EmetitiriMetitiriMaleMine is famous
Emudiaga MudiagaMaleLet’s stand firmly
EmuobosaMuoboUnisexYour own thing is precious (unique)
Emuvoke VokeUnisexEvery thing has time
EnakpodiaNakpodiaMaleThe way life should (ought) to be
EnitaNitaUnisexWatch what you say
EnitekiruEnitehUnisexThink before you act
EnivwenayeNivwenaiUnisexCompare my achievements with those of my detractors
ErhinyuseUseUnisexGuardian Spirit answers prayers
ErhuvwunErhusUnisexBeauty
ErukainureRukainure or EruksUnisexWe have aided them (met their challenge)
EtarakpobunoEtabuno or TabunoUnisexThe world has so much to say (much gossip)
IrorokpakaRokpakaUnisexOur thoughts went far (deep thoughts)
IsioIsioUnisexStars
MiriodereMiriodeUnisexI now have a name
ObaObaMaleKing
ObatareAtareUnisexDestiny
OborerhinrinBerhirinUnisexIt’s your destiny
OdirinDirinUnisexPatience
OgbetaGbetaMaleBad talk
OghomenaOmena or OghoUnisexHere is my respect
OkiremuteOkiteUnisexThere is time for every thing
OkpakoKpakoUnisexSenior
OmafuvweMafuvwe or OmaUnisexI am at peace ( All is well with me)
OmenasanMenasanUnisexMine is unique
OnogaganmueOgagan or OnoMaleWho is intoxicated with prowess (power)?
OnoharheseNoharheseUnisexWho blames good deeds?
OnomeOnomeUnisexThis is mine
OnomineOno or MimiUnisexWhom do I look up to?
OnoriodeOnoUnisexWho knows tomorrow?
OrodenaOrodeMaleThe great one
OtevwobriseOtobrise or OtobruUnisexIt’s sufficient to make parables
Ovie OvieMaleKing
Oviereya OvieyaFemaleQueen
OviguerayeOvigueUnisexEveryone with his/her own destiny
OvuevurayeOvuevu or VuevurayeUnisexEveryone has his/her own minds/thoughts
OyabevweOyabeUnisexTired of sojourn
UdumebrayeUdume or DumebrayeMaleMy presence gives them heartache (challenge)
Ufuoma FuomaUnisexPeace of mind
Ughwubetine BetineUnisexNo more deaths (dying)
Uruemuesiri Esiri  or UruemuUnisexGood deeds

Names Based on GENDER

NAMESSHORT FORMSGENDER MEANINGS
Emetemedia MetemediaFemaleI will always remain a lady
EmeterhireEmeteFemaleGirls have arrived
EnajemeteEmeteFemaleThese are also girls
EsereshareberuoEse or EseberuoUnisexMen are hard to please
EyakodevuOkodevuUnisexWomen  can very secretive
InenevwerhaNeneUnisexThere is joy in motherhood
Okoro Okoro or OshareMaleMan
OkoteteOkoteMaleLittle young man
OmoteOmoteUnisexGirl
OmotejohwoOmotohwoFemaleA girl is also a human being
OmotekoroOroFemaleA girl is like gold
Omotore Tore or OmoteFemaleGirl’s birth brings festivity
Umukoko OkokoFemaleYoung woman
Umukoro (Omokoro) Mukoro  or MokoroMaleYoung man
UmutoMutoFemaleWoman

Names based on People as an important RESOURCE

NAMESSHORT FORMSGENDERMEANINGS
Imonivwerha ImoniUnisexThere is joy in having blood relations
Iniovosa NiovosaUnisexSiblings are unique
Odibo OdiboUnisex Disciple (Follower or Servant)
OhwevwoOhwoUnisexGood human relationship provides valuable support
Ohwofasa OfasaMaleA person’s status should be defined by his/her achievement.
OhwonighoIghoMaleA person is greater than riches
OmodiboModiboUnisexYoung disciple (follower or servant)
OmonighoIghoUnisexChild is greater than riches
OmonoroOro    or    MonoroUnisexChild is greater than gold
OmotoreMotore or  OmoteFemaleGirl’s birth brings festivity
Onanefe Ona  or  EfeUnisexThis (child) is greater than riches

Names that indicate SPECIAL DAYS

NAMES SHORT FORMS GENDERMEANINGS
EdekiDekiUnisexMarket day
EdeworDeworMaleTraditional religion sacred day of worship
EdidjanaDidjanaUnisexSunday
EdoreDoreUnisexDay of festivity (festival)
EduvieDuvieUnisexGlory day  (Day of Glory)
Omotore Tore or MotoreFemaleGirl’s birth brings festivity

Names Related to WEALTH / MONEY

NAMESSHORT FORMS GENDER MEANINGS
AvwunufeEfe or wunufeUnisexWealthy only by talk not substance
EdafetanureTanureMale The wealthy have spoken
EfediomeDiomeUnisexLet riches be mine
EfekodoEfe or FekodoUnisexFamous with wealth
Efemena EfeUnisexHere is my wealth
EfeminiEfeUnisexLet’s see how wealthy you can be
EfemuayeEfeMaleThose intoxicated with riches
EfeturiEfe or FeturiUnisexThere are more than 100 types of riches/wealth
EfevwerhaEfeUnisexWealth is joyful
EfurhievweEfeUnisexDestined to be wealthy
Ejaife JaifeMaleLet them be rich (wealthy)
EsisorighoEsisoUnisexBag of money
Etaidaferua TaidafeMaleWords of the wealthy are more acceptable
EtaredafeDafeMaleWords of the wealthy
IgberaharhaGberaharhaMaleThe poor take the blame
IghofoseOse or IghoUnisexMoney can break close male/female relationships
IghofovweIghoUnisexWealth suites me
IghohwoIghoUnisexRiches make you human
IghovavwerheIghoMaleThere is joy in riches
IrikefeKefeMaleFirst to become wealthy
OdafeDafeMaleRich individual
OghonoroOnoroUnisexRespect is greater than gold (riches)
OmoefeOmo or EfeUnisexChild is wealth
OmonighoIghoUnisexChild is greater than riches
OmovighoOmo or IghoUnisex Child brings wealth (means wealth)
OnofegharaEfe or NofegharaUnisexWho divides (shares) his/ her wealth with others?
OnoharhighoIgho or NoharhighoMaleWho blames riches / wealth?
UduefebrayeEfe or UduefeMaleWealth gives them challenge (heartache)

Names in Appreciation of COLOURS

NAMESSHORT FORMS GENDER MEANINGS
AhwinahwiAhwiMaleA really black ( dark) individual
ObiebiBiebiUnisexBlack (dark)
OdodoDodoUnisexRed
OfuafoFuafoUnisexWhite
OfuakoFuakoUnisexOne with white teeth
OmoyiboMoyiboUnisexLittle white / fair skinned person
OyiboOyiboUnisexWhite / fair skinned
OyibonanarhoroOyiborhoro or Oyibo or OyibodeMale This is a big white / fair skinned person
OyiborhoroOyibode or OyiboMaleA big white / fair skinned person
OyiborodeOyibode or OyiboMale A big white / fair skinned person

Names in Recognition of Types of WEATHER CONDITIONS

NAMESSHORT FORMS GENDER MEANINGS
EdosioEde or OsioMaleRainy day
OhwahwaHwahwaMaleHarmattan/cold season
OkposioOsioUnisexHeavy rain
OsioOsioUnisexRain
UvoUvoMaleDry/Sunny season

Names in Recognition of Significance of NATURAL RESOURCES

NAMESSHORT FORMS GENDER MEANINGS
EgboEgboMaleForest
EmeniMeniMaleSmall elephant
EmerhoMerhoMaleA special type of (small) catfish
EniEniMaleElephant
ErhueErhueMaleA special breed of cow used for traditional ceremonies
OgoroOgoroMaleFrog
OkpogoroOgoroMaleA big toad
UlohoLohoMaleIroko tree
UrhieUrhieMaleRiver

Names in Honour of Cities and Places of BIRTH

NAMESSHORT FORMS GENDER MEANINGS
AgbarhaAgbarhaMaleBorn in Agbarha
EmetisiorhoIsiorhoUnisexChildren born in diaspora
OkparaOkparaMaleBorn in Okpara
OmetekoEkoFemaleGirl born in Lagos/Eko
OmorogunOmo or MorogunUnisexChild born in Orogun
OmotugheleMotugheleFemaleGirl from Ughelli
OmotukaneMotukaneFemaleGirl born in diaspora (Ikale-Yoruba)
OrogunOrogunUnisexBorn in Orogun
SapeleSapeleMaleBorn in Sapele
UhwokoriKokoriMaleBorn in Uhwokori

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