Yoruba names and their meanings

Yoruba Names and Their Meanings

Yoruba names and their meanings
Male and female Yoruba Names and their meanings 🤝

You have probably met a Yoruba person at some point and wondered what their name meant. Male and female Yoruba names are usually quite interesting. This post will begin with a simple explanation of the composition of Yoruba names. You can also go straight to the list of male and female Yoruba names and their meanings below if you already understand how Yoruba names are composed.

1. What is Yoruba?

Yoruba is a language spoken by Yoruba people. It could also refer to someone who is from the Yoruba tribe. Yoruba people are a tribe that occupies and dominate about 6 states in southwest Nigeria. These states are Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, and Lagos State. There are also many Yoruba speakers in many other states in Nigeria, particularly in Kwara and Kogi State.

There are millions of Yoruba people in the diaspora. Yoruba language is spoken by approximately thirty million (30,000,000) people or more. You might also be surprised to find that a variation of Yoruba is used for incantations in ‘Ifa’ religion in some countries. Brazil is one such country.

2.1 First, lets look at prefixes that usually pertain to deities or religions.

  • Ifa – Ifa is the god of divinity in Yoruba. When this prefix is used in Yoruba names, the first letter (‘I’) is usually dropped. For instance, instead of Ifayemi, you would usually see Fayemi.
  • Ogun – In Yoruba land, Ogun Lakaye is the god of iron.
  • Oluwa – Oluwa simply means lord (lord of the ring, lord of the flies etc). However, when ‘Oluwa’ is used in a Yoruba name, it usually refers to Jesus Christ. This prefix became common in Yoruba names after Christianity became a religion in Nigeria.
  • Olorun – means God.
  • Orisa – means deity. Not very popular in names nowadays like those mentioned above but it is worth mentioning.

2.2 Other popular prefixes in Yoruba names

  • Ade – Ade means crown in Yoruba language. People who have this prefix in their names are usually of royal descent. However, it is important to know that there are several kings in Yoruba land. If you found that two Yoruba people have ‘Ade’ in their names, it does not necessarily mean that they are of the same royal descent.
  • Akin – a brave person.
  • Ayo – means joy.
  • Awo – one who is initiated.
  • Baba –  father.
  • Oba – king.
  • Ode – hunter.
  • Ola – wealth.
  • Ona – road.
  • Omo – child.
  • Owo – money.
  • Oye – this means chieftaincy. In the Yoruba monarchy, chieftaincies (Oye) are conferred on some people. The chiefs are similar to the parliament in modern systems of governance.

3. Pronounciation of Yoruba names

Are Yoruba names easy or difficult to pronounce?

There is a common misconception that Yoruba names are usually long and difficult to pronounce. This is why it is worth mentioning that people are not usually called with their ‘prefix+names’ in informal situations. Likewise, people usually drop the prefix when introducing themselves in less formal situations. In fact, most times, you would come across those prefixes only in written forms in formal situations.

For instance, Adeyemi would be popularly called Yemi by family members and friends. However as a form of affection in an informal situation, parents might call their children’s names with the prefix. Same goes for lovers or spouses sometimes.

There is another point worthy of note. The above mentioned prefixes are usually used without a dash/hyphen. Let’s suppose that a name is Yemi ( means ‘I am worthy of’) and its prefix is Ade. It would be written as ‘Adeyemi’ (I am worthy of crown) and not ‘Ade-Yemi’.

You would usually end up with around 4-8 letter words when the prefixes are dropped. So contrary to what you might have thought, Yoruba names are quite easy to pronounce.Are Yoruba names difficult to pronounce

Now that you know about prefixes in Yoruba names, let’s look at some male and female Yoruba names and their meanings.

Abayomi

Abayomi is a name given to male children in the Yoruba tribe. It is a short form of the otherwise longer pronunciation of the name, the original form of the name is A-o-ba-yomi.

Its literal translation is ” I would have been mocked”. The short form of Abayomi is usually Yomi.


Abidemi

Abidemi is a unisex name given to children that are born during periods when the father of the child has embarked on a Journey.

It means “A child given birth to while waiting for me”. The short form of Abedemi is usually Bidemi.

See also:
5 Popular Nigerian Folk Tales With Moral Lessons

Abimbola

Abimbola is commonly given to female children in the Yoruba tribe but on some rare occasions, male children have also been named Abimbola.

People named Abimbola are usually called “Bimbo“.

The name Abimbola means ” I was born into wealth”.


Abiodun

Abiodun is a unisex Yoruba name that is usually given to children born in December.

It is a combination of two words:

Abi – we birthed.

Odun – festive season or year.

The literal translation would be to birth year/festive season.


Abiola

Abiola is commonly given to male children while its other variant “Abisola” is given to female children.

Abiola means “Born into wealth”. The short form of Abiola is usually Biola.


Abolaji

Abolaji is a Unisex name that means “One who wakes up with/to wealth”. 

Short forms are Bola or Bolaji.


Abolarinwa

Abolarinwa is a male name that means one who walks with wealth. Its short form is usually Bola.


Abosede

Abosede is a Yoruba name given to female children, It’s one of the most popular feminine Yoruba names. It is a name given to female children born on a Sunday.

It means “One who comes with the new week”. The short form of Abosede is usually Bose.


Ade

Ade means crown and it is a popular prefix in Yoruba names. Both female and male names often share this prefix.


Adebanji

Adebanji is a name given to male children that are born into a royal lineage.

Adebanji means “Crown/Royalty wakes up with me”.

The short forms of Adebanji are Ade or Banji.


Adebiyi

Adebiyi is a male Yoruba name. It means ” The crown birthed this”.

The short forms of Adebiyi are Ade or Biyi.


Adedayo

Adedayo is a male Yoruba name that means ” The crown turns into joy”.

The short forms of Adedayo are Ade or Dayo.


Aderinsola

Aderinsola is a unisex Yoruba name given to children born to a royal lineage. It combines the prefix Ade and the suffix Rinsola.

Ade – Ade means crown.

Rinsola-  Rinsola means to walk into wealth.

The short form of Aderinsola is usually Ade.

Aderinsola- The name Aderinsola means “The crown walks into wealth”.


Adetola

Adetola means a crown is comparable to wealth. This Yoruba name is usually unisex and its short form is usually Ade or Tola.


Adeyemi

Adeyemi means I am worthy of the crown. It is also a popular surname.


Afolabi

Afolabi is a male name that means one who is born with wealth. It is also a popular Yoruba surname. Its short form is usually Folabi or Fola.


Afolake

Afolake means one who is raised with wealth and it is a female name. The short form is usually Folake or Fola.


Ajibola

Ajibola means one who wakes up into wealth and it is a male name. Short form is Jibola or Bola.


Asoropa

Asoropa means one who is hard to kill. This name is usually a surname.


Atinuke

Atinuke is an affectionate female Yoruba name which means one who has been pampered before birth (while still an embryo). Short form is usually Tinu or Tinuke.


Atolani

Atolani is usually a male Yoruba name that means one who is worthy of wealth.  It is also a common surname. Short-form is usually Tola or Tolani.


Ayobami

Ayobami  is a unisex Yoruba name that usually comes with two prefixes explained below:

Ayobamiji – I woke up with joy.

Ayobamide – Joy came with me.

Short form of the name is usually Ayo which simply means joy.


Babafemi

Babafemi is a male Yoruba name that means “The father loves me”. 

The short form is Babafemi is usually Femi.


Bamidele

Bamidele is a male Yoruba name, it means ” Go home with me”.

The short form of Bamidele is usually Dele.


Banke

Banke is a female Yoruba name, its full variant is “Bamike’. The name means “Help me care for or cherish”.


Bewaji

Bewaji is an interesting female Yoruba name that means ” Wake up with beauty”. It is a combination of two words: Ewa, which means beauty + Ji, which means wake.


Bimpe

Bimpe is a female Yoruba name that means “Born completely”. The name usually comes with a prefix like AdeOlu or Ola.


Bisola

Bisola is a female Yoruba name that means born into wealth.


Bolatito

Bolatito is a female Yoruba name that means “wealth is enough”.

The short forms of Bolatito are usually Bola or Tito.


Boluwatife

Boluwatife is a female Yoruba name. It means ” As the Lord wants it to be”.

The short forms of Boluwatife are Bolu or Tife.


Bukunmi

Bukunmi is a Yoruba name commonly given to female children but can sometimes be given to male children. It comes with a prefix like “Oluwa”.

Bukunmi means “Add to me”.

The short form of the name is usually Kunmi.


Bunmi

Bunmi means ‘gave me’.  It is usually a female name but sometimes used as a male name by some. The name usually comes with prefixes such as:

Ogunbunmi – Ogun gave me.

Oluwabunmi – the Lord gave me.

Fabunmi – Ifa gave me.

See also:
Why African Time Connotes Delay

Orisabunmi – Orisa gave me.


Busayo

Busayo is a unisex Yoruba name, it means “Add to my joy”. A prefix is always attached to the name, for example “Oluwabusayomi”.


Damilare

Damilare is a male given name that means “Justify me”. It usually comes with the prefix “Oluwa”. So a name like “Oluwadamilare’ would mean God has justified me.

The short forms of Oluwadamilare are Damilare or Dami.


Damilola

Damilola means ‘blessed me with wealth’ and it is usually a unisex Yoruba name. Popular example of the name with prefix is Oluwadamilola.


Darasimi

Darasimi is a unisex name that comes with prefixes like “Oluwa” or “Ola’ attached to it.

Darasimi means “Good to me”.

The short forms of Darasimi are Dara or Simi.


Dasola

Dasola is a female given name that means ” Created into wealth”.


Dayo

It means that something has become joy. This is usually a male name but sometimes given to female children as well.
Examples of variations with prefixes are: Adedayo and Ogundayo.


Dele

Dele means “come home”. It is a male given name and is often used with common prefixes such as:

Oladele – wealth has come home.

Akindele – the brave one has come home.Submitted by: Samuel


Durodola

Durodola is a male Yoruba name, it means “wait for wealth”.


Durojaiye

Durojaiye is a unique Yoruba name given to children that are regarded as Abiku. Abiku in mythical Yoruba culture means a child that keeps dying and getting reborn by the parents.

Durojaiye is one of the names given to such children, it means ” Wait and enjoy life”.

The short form of Durojaiye is usually Jaiye.


Durosinmi

Durosinmi is another name like Durojaiye.

Durosinmi means ” Wait to bury me”.


Ebunoluwa

Ebunoluwa is a feminine Yoruba name, it means God’s gift.

The short form is usually Ebun.


Eniola

Eniola is a female Yoruba name, it means ” A person of wealth”.


Enitan

Enitan is a feminine Yoruba name, it means “one with stories”.


Eriayo

Eriayo is a feminine Yoruba name, it means ” The evidence of Joy”.

The shorter forms of Eriayo are Eri or Ayo.


Erioluwa

Erioluwa is a unisex Yoruba name, it means “The evidence of God”.

A short form of the name could be Eri.


Fehintola

Fehintola is a female Yoruba name, it means “Rest in wealth”.

The short form is usually Tola.


Femi

This is usually a male name but sometimes used as a female name as well. Femi in Yoruba name context means ‘loves me’. Popular examples with prefixes are Oluwafemi, Olorunfemi, and Obafemi.


Feyisara

Feyisara is a feminine Yoruba name usually given to an only female child or an adopted child. It means “use this as a relative”.

The short form of Feyisara is usually Feyi.


Feyisayo

Feyisayo is a female Yoruba name, it usually has the prefix “Oluwa” attached to it. Feyisayo means “Use this for Joy”

The short forms of Feyisayo are Feyi or Ayo.


Folorunsho

Folorunsho, sometimes spelled as Folorunso, is a male name that means given to God to keep. Its short form is usually Funsho.


Funmilayo

Funmilayo is a feminine Yoruba name, it usually has the prefix “Oluwa” attached. It means “Give me joy”.

Other variations of the name are

Oluwafunmilayo- God has given me joy

Jesufunmilayo- Jesus has given me joy.

The short form of Funmilayo is usually Funmi.


Gbemi

This Yoruba name could have two meanings and could be a male or female name depending on the prefix or suffix. The meanings are explained below:

Meaning no. 1 – Gbemi could mean ‘lift me’. Popular female example of the name in this context is Oluwagbemisola which means the Lord has lifted me into wealth.

Popular male example of Gbemi in this context is Oluwagbemileke, which means the Lord has given me victory. Another popular variant is Ogungbemileke which means Ogun has given me victory.

Meaning no. 2 – Gbemi could also mean ‘favoured me’. Popular variants in this context are Ogungbemi and Ifagbemi. These are usually male names and are seldom used these days perhaps due to the prevalence of Christianity in Nigeria.Submitted by: Samuel


Ibukun

Ibukun is a feminine Yoruba name that has the suffix “Oluwa” attached to it. Ibukun means blessing, the full version of the name “Ibukunoluwa” means God’s blessing.


Imole

Imole is a unisex Yoruba name that means Light. It has the suffix Ayo or Oluwa attached to it. In its full form, the name will be Imoleayo or Imoleoluwa.

Imoleayo- The light of Joy

Imoleoluwa- The light of God.


Ireti

Ireti is usually a female name that means hope. It is commonly used with suffixes instead of prefixes. Examples include:

Iretiayo – the hope of joy.

Iretiola – the hope of wealth.

Iretioluwa – to hope in the Lord


Itunu

Itunu is a feminine Yoruba name that means Comfort.


Jaiyeola

Jaiyeola is a male Yoruba name, it means to Enjoy a life of wealth.

The short forms of Jaiyeola are Jaiye or Ola.


Jolaade

Jolaade is a unisex name, it means to enjoy the wealth of royalty.

See also:
12 Fascinating Facts About Nigeria

The short form of Jolaade is usually Ade.


Jolayemi


Jolayemi is a feminine Yoruba name. It means “let me be worthy of wealth”.

The short form of Jolayemi is usually Yemi.


Kanyinsola

Kanyinsola is a feminine Yoruba name that means “drop honey into wealth”. It usually comes with the prefix “Oluwa” attached to it.

The short forms of Kanyinsola are usually Kanyin or Oyin.


Kemi

Kemi means take care of me or pamper me and it is popularly a female name. Popular variations with prefixes are:

Oluwakemi – the Lord takes care of me.

Folakemi – Pamper me with wealth.

Fadekemi – Comfort me with the crown.


Kolade

To bring wealth. It is a male name. Examples with prefixes: Omokolade, Ogunkolade etc.


Korede

Korede is a male Yoruba name that means brought wealth. It usually has prefixes such as:

Oluwakorede – the Lord has brought wealth.

Ogunkorede – Ogun has brought wealth.

Fakorede – Ifa has brought wealth.


Kunle

Kunle is a male Yoruba name that means “fill the house. It usually has prefixes like Ola, Ade and Ayo attached to it. Other variations of the name are

Olakunle- Wealth fills this house.

Adekunle- Royalty fills this house

Ayokunle- Joy fills this house.


Mojisola

Mojisola is a female Yoruba name that means to wake into wealth. Short-form is usually Moji.


Morenike

Morenike is a female Yoruba name that means I have someone to care for/pamper. Short-form is usually Nike.


Obafemi

Obafemi means the King loves me and it is usually a male name.


Ogundayisi

Ogundayisi is a male name that means Ogun has kept this one alive. Short-form is usually Dayisi.


Ola

This name means wealth. It is sometimes used as a prefix as in Olawale, Olaoluwa, Olaade. But it is also commonly used at the end of prefixes such as Akinola, Adeola, Omolola, Babalola etcSubmitted by: Samuel


Oladimeji

Oladimeji is a male Yoruba name that means our wealth has been doubled. Short forms are Ola, Deji, and Dimeji.


Olaitan

Olaitan means unending wealth and it is usually a female name. Short form is Laitan.


Olayinka

Olayinka is a unisex Yoruba name that means I am surrounded with wealth. The short form is Yinka.


Oloruntobi

Oloruntobi means God is great. It is usually a male name. Another variant of this Yoruba name is Oloruntobiloba which means that God is a great king. Short form of this name is usually Tobi.


Olowolaiyemo

Olowolaiyemo sometimes spelled Olowolayemo means people only adore the rich. This name is usually a surname.


Oluwadamilare

Oluwadamilare is a male Yoruba name that means the Lord has vindicated me. Short form is Dare or Damilare.


Oluwadarasimi

Oluwadarasimi is a female Yoruba name that means the Lord is good to me. Short-form is usually Dara or Simi.


Oluwafunmilayo

Oluwafunmilayo means the Lord has given me joy and it is a female name. Short forms could be Funlayo or Funmi but Funmi is the most common.


Oluwagbenga

Oluwagbenga is a male Yoruba name that means the Lord has exalted me.  Short form is Gbenga.


Oluwaseyi

Oluwaseyi is a unisex Yoruba name that means the Lord has done this. Short form is Seyi.


Oluwatoyin

Oluwatoyin means the Lord is worthy of praise. It is popularly a female name and rarely used as male name. Short form is Toyin.


Omomayowa

Omomayowa is a unisex Yoruba name, it means “child brings joy”.

The short form of the name is usually Mayowa.


Omomurewa

Omomurewa is a feminine Yoruba name, it means “children bring goodness”.

The short form of the name could be Murewa.


Omoniyi

Omoniyi is a unisex Yoruba name that could have two meanings.

  1. Omoniyi could mean children have honour.
  2. It could also mean children bestow honour.

The short form of Omoniyi is usually Niyi.


Omotoke

Omotoke means a child is worthy of care and it is a female name. Short-form is Toke.


Omotola

Omotola means a child is equal to wealth and it is usually a female name. Short-form is usually Tola.


Oreofe

Oreofe is a unisex Yoruba name that means grace.


Oreoluwa

Oreoluwa is a female Yoruba name that means gift from God. Short-form is usually Ore.

Oreoluwa could be a full name on its own or a shorter form of Oreoluwatanwa. See Oreoluwatanwa for below.


Oreoluwatanwa

Oreoluwatanwa is a female Yoruba name that means a gift from the Lord that we have been waiting for. This name is usually given to a female child whose birth has been preceded by male siblings. Short-form is usually Ore.


Owolabi

Owolabi means we have given birth to money.


Pelumi

Pelumi is a name mostly given to female children, it is usually preceded by the prefix “Oluwa”. Pelumi means “Be with me”.


Ranti

Ranti is a unisex name that means Remember. It usually has a prefix attached to it. Other variations of the name are

Oluwarantimi – God has remembered me.

Jesurantimi – Jesus has remembered me.


Remilekun

Remilekun means ‘wiped away my tears’ and it is usually a unisex name. Popular variant of the name with prefix is Oluwaremilekun, which means the Lord has wiped away my tears. The usual short form is Remi.

See also:
African Proverbs and Their Meanings

Romoke

Romoke is a feminine Yoruba name. It is usually given to the first child of parents who have been trying to have a child for a long time. Romoke means “have a child to care for”.


Segun

Segun means to conquer or defeat and it is usually a male name. Popular example with prefix is Oluwasegun. This means the Lord has conquered.


Seyifunmi

Seyifunmi is a unisex Yoruba name, it has the prefixes “Oluwa” or “Ola’ attached to it. Seyifunmi means “Do this for me”.

Oluwaseyifunmi – God has done this for me

Olaseyifunmi – Wealth has done this for me

The short forms of Seyifunmi are usually Seyi (unisex) or Funmi (female).


Shade

Shade literally means to wield a crown. It is a female name. A popular example with a prefix is Folashade. This means to be crowned with wealth.


Simisola

Simisola is a feminine Yoruba name, it means “Rest in wealth”.

The short form of Simisola is usually Simi.


Sunmisola

Sunmisola is a feminine Yoruba name, it means “Shift me into wealth”.


Tamilore

Tamilore is a unisex name, it means “give me a gift”. Other variations of the name are:

  1. Oluwatamilore- God has given me a gift
  2. Jesutamilore- Jesus has given me a gift.

The short form of the name is usually Ore.


Temitope

Temitope is usually a unisex name. It means ‘I am inclined to be grateful. Short forms are usually Temi or Tope.


Tiaraoluwa

Tiaraoluwa is a feminine Yoruba name, it means “Of the body of God”.


Tijesunimi

Tijesunimi is a feminine name, it means ” I am for Jesus”.


Timilehin

Timilehin is a male Yoruba name that means back me up. It usually has prefixes such as Ogun (Oguntimileyin), Oluwa (Oluwatimileyin). Short-form is usually Timi.


Titilayo

Titilayo is a female Yoruba name that means perpetual joy. Short-form is Titi or Layo but Titi is more common.


Titilola

Titilola is a female Yoruba name that means perpetual wealth. The short form is Titi or Lola.


Tolu

Tolu means ‘the Lord’s’. The name is unisex. This name usually takes a suffix. An example with suffix is Tolulope, meaning praise be to the Lord.


Tomi

Tomi means sufficient for me. It is a female name.
Popular variations of this name with prefixes are Oluwatomi and Adetomi.


Tosin

This name means worthy of worship and it is usually a unisex Yoruba name. It is commonly used after prefixes that pertain to religion. Some examples are Oluwatosin and Oloruntosin.


Toyosi

Worthy of being happy about. This name is unisex. (Examples with prefixes: Omotoyosi, Adetoyosi, Oguntoyosi, etc.)


Tumininu

Tumininu means ‘I am appeased’ and it is usually a female name. Popular variants of this name with prefixes are:

Adetumininu which means I am appeased by the crown.

Oluwatumininu which means the Lord has comforted me.


Tunde

Tunde means ‘back again’. It is usually a male name.
Examples of variations of this name with prefixes are Akintunde and Babatunde. These names are usually given to Yoruba children who have a close resemblance with a late grandfather or grandmother. Its female variation is Yetunde.

The female variation is rarely shortened to Tunde. It often remains as Yetunde. So the shortened form (Tunde) is popularly used for males.


Tunji

This name means “rewake” or “wake again”. It can only be used after prefixes. Examples include: Adetunji, Omotunji, Babatunji, Akintunji etc


Wale

Wale means to come home. It is a male name.
Popular variations with prefixes are Adewale, Akinwale, Odewale, etc.


Wande

Wande is a Yoruba name, it means “Sought me out”. Wande is usually preceded with prefixes like Ola or Ye. 

Olawande – wealth sought me out (Olawande is a unisex name).

Yewande- Mother sought me out (Yewande is given to a female child who is believed to be the reincarnation of a female family member who died before the child was born).


Wemimo

Wemimo is a female Yoruba name that means “Make me pure”.


Wole

Wole means entry into a house. It is a male name.
Examples of variations of this name with prefixes are Oyewole and Ogunwole.


Wonu

Wonu means to enter. It’s usually a female name. This name usually has both prefix and suffix. With prefix and suffix, it’s usually Omowonuola.


Yemisi

Yemisi means “treated me well” and it is a female name. The name usually comes with prefixes like:

Ogunyemisi – Ogun has treated me well.

Oluwayemisi – the Lord has treated me well.

Fayemisi – Ifa has treated me well.

The short form of the name is Yemi. For the male variation of Yemi, see Adeyemi.


Yinka

Yinka is a unisex Yoruba name that is usually preceded with different types of prefixes depending on the circumstance of the child’s birth. Yinka means “Surrounds me”. Other variations of the name are: 

Olayinka- Wealth has surrounded me.

Omoyinka- I am surrounded by children.


Yomola

Yomola is a feminine Yoruba name that means “Rejoice in wealth”.

Author

Share it

4 thoughts on “Yoruba Names and Their Meanings

  1. I will surely foreward this post to all of my pals! Its very excellent and a very fine read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.