Urhobo Historical Society

 

Urhobo Names and Their Meanings

(Revised: August, 2005)

 
By Aruegodore Oyiborhoro,
ED.D., F.A.A.A.
Long Island, New York, USA


Every Urhobo name given to a child has a meaning attached to it. The Urhobo 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 honor. However, unlike some of their ethnic neighbors, 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 Urhoboland. Traditionally, Urhobo parents do not ďcountĒ 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 honor and  ACHIEVEMENT. Certain names are simply PHILOSOPHICAL, while others are GENDER specific. The Urhobo  also give names that emphasize the importance of PEOPLE as an important RESOURCE. Sometimes names are given to denote  SPECIAL 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 COLORS, 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 Ďlong formsí may in fact be the 'short forms' of the actual long names. The Ďshort formsí, 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


NAMES

SHORT FORMS

GENDER

MEANINGS

Akpenvwoghene

Akpenvwe

Unisex

Praise God

Anaborhi

Naborhi

UNISEX

Be born with good destiny

Edewor

Dewor

Male

Sacred day of worship in traditional religion 

Ejiroghene

Ejiro

Unisex

Praise God

Ejokparoghene

Jokpa or  Oghene

Unisex

Let's trust in God

Ejomafuvwe

Jomafuvwe or Jomafu

Unuisex

Let peace reign in my life

Enohor/Elohor

Nohor or Lohor

Female

Blessing

Erhiaganoma

Erhi or Rhiaganoma

Male

Guardian spirit overpowers the body

Erhimeyoma

Oyoma

Unisex

My guardian spirit (God) is good

Erhinyoja

Rhinyoja or Onyoja

Unisex

Guardian spirit (God) meets our challenges (hears our prayers)

Erhinyuse

Use

Unisex

Guardian spirit (God) answers prayers

Erhiroghene

Erhi or Oghene

Unisex

The spirit of God

Eseoghene

Ese

Unisex

God's gift

Eserovwe

Ese or Ovwe

Unisex

Godís grace or Free gift

Oghenebrume

Brume

Unisex

God decided in my favor

Oghenechovwe

Chovwe or Oghene

Unisex

God aided me

Oghenefejiro

Ofejiro or Oghene

Unisex

God is praiseworthy

Oghenegaren

Garen or Oghene

Unisex

God is great

Oghenekevwe

Kevwe or Oghene

Unisex

God gave (provided for) me

Oghenekohwo

Oghene or Kohwo

Unisex

God provides

Ogheneme

Ome or Oghene

Unisex

 My God

Oghenemine

Mine or Mimi

Unisex

I look up to God

Oghenenyore

Nyore or Oghene

Unisex

God answers prayers

Ogheneruemu

Oghene

Unisex

God makes things possible

Oghenerukevwe

Rukevwe or Ruks

Unisex

God did this for me

Ogheneruno

Oruno or Runo

Unisex

God has so much (great)

Oghenetega

Tega or Oghene

Unisex

God is worship-worthy

Oghenevwede

Oghenede or Oghene

Unisex

God owns the day

Oghenevwogagan

Gaga or Oghene

Unisex

God provides all strength

Oghenochuko

Ochuko or Oghene

Unisex

God provides my support

Okeroghene

Okeoghene or Oghene

Unisex

Godís own time

Omamerhi

Mamerhi or Oma

Unisex 

Good guardian spirit

Onakpoma

Ono

Unisex

Who creates life?

Onomavwe

Ono

Unisex 

Who is my creator?

Onomine

Ono or Mimi

Unisex

Whom do I look up to?

Onovughakpor 

Ono or Onovughe

Unisex

Who can predict what life can bring?

Oyovwikemo

Kemo or Yovwike

Unisex

May our children be blessed

Oyovwikerhi

Kerhi or Yovwike

Unisex

May my guardian spirit (God) be blessed

 

Names with  CHALLENGE  Connotations

 

Achojah

Achojah

Male

Rise up to challenge

Aruegodore

Egodo

Male

We have come (established) home

Edojah

Dojah

Male

Day of challenge

Efemini

Efe

Male

Let's see how wealthy you can be

Efetobo

Efe

Unisex

Wealth is achieved

Efetobore

Tobore

Male

Wealth has now been achieved

Etanomare

Tanomare or Nomare

Unisex

Freed from blame (despair)

Ighomuedafe

Igho or Dafe

Male

Money intoxicates the wealthy

Miriodere

Miriode

Unisex

I now have a name

Mitaire

Mitai

Unisex

I have achieved (reached) their match

Mivwodere

Mivwode

Unisex 

I now have a name

Oboganriemu

Obogan

Male

Be strong to survive (eat)

Ogbamremu

Ogba

Male

The brave meets a lot of challenges

Ojakorotu

Jakorotu or Orotu

Male

This is a group challenge

Ojanomare

Janoma

Unisex

I have met the challenge

Onajite

Ojite

Unisex 

This is sufficient

Onanojah

Onojah

Male

This is a challenge

Onogaganmue

Ono or Ogagan

Male

Who is intoxicated with power?

Onoharhese

Noharhese

Unisex

Who blames good deeds?

Udumebraye

Udume or Dumebraye

Male

My presence gives them heartache (challenge)


Names with ACHIEVEMENT Connotations


NAMES

SHORT FORMS

GENDER

MEANINGS

Edafetanure

Tanure

Male

The wealthy have spoken

Efemena

Efe

Unisex

Here is my wealth

Efemuaye

Efe

Male

Those intoxicated with riches

Efetobore

Tobore

Male

Wealth has now been achieved

Etanomare

Tanomare or Tanoma

Male

Freed from blame / despair

Etaredafe

Dafe

Male

Words of the wealthy

Ighomuedafe

Igho or Dafe

Male

Money intoxicates the wealthy

Ighovavwerhe

Igho

Male

There is joy in riches

Irikefe

Kefe

Male

First to become wealthy

Miriodere / Mivwodere

Miriode or Mivwode

Unisex

I now have a name

Mitaire

Mitaire

Unisex

I have reached their match

Odafe

Dafe

Male

Rich individual

Odavwaro

Odaro

Unisex

I am contented

Oghomena

Ogho or Omena

Unisex

Here is my respect

Oghonoro

Ogho or Onoro

Unisex 

Respect is greater than gold (riches)

Okagbare

Kagbare

Male

Now I have all styles / skills

Omonigho

  Omo or Igho

Unisex

Child is greater than riches

Omonoro

 Omo or Onoro

Unisex

Child is greater than gold

Onajite 

Ojite or Jite

Unisex

This is sufficient

Onogaganmue

Ogagan or Ono

Male

Who is intoxicated with prowess (power)?

Orodena

Orode

Male

The great one


Names with Connotations of APPRECIATION


NAMES

SHORT FORMS

GENDER

MEANINGS

Akpenvwoghene

Akpenvwe

Unisex

Praise God

Ejiroghene

Ejiro or Oghene

Unisex

Praise God

Eseoghene

Ese or Oghene

Unisex

God's gift

Norioghene

Norien

Unisex

Look at Godís judgment

Oghenebrume

Brume

Unisex

God decided in my favor

Oghenechovwe

Chovwe or Oghene

Unisex 

God supported me

Oghenefejiro

Ofejiro or Oghene

Unisex

God is praiseworthy

Oghenekevwe

Kevwe

Unisex

God gave me (this child)

Oghenenyerhovwo

Nyerhovwo or  Oghene

Unisex

God answers prayers

Oghenerhoro

Oghene

Unisex

God is great

Ogheneruemu

Oghene

Unisex

God makes things possible

Oghenerukevwe

Rukevwe  or  Ruks

Unisex

God did this for me

Ogheneruno

Runo or Oruno

Unisex

God has done so much (great)

Oghenetega

Tega

Unisex 

God is worship worthy

Oghenochuko

Ochuko or Oghene

Unisex

God provides my support

Onoharhese

Noharhese

Unisex

Who blames good deeds?

Oyovwikerhi

Kerhi or Yovwike

Unisex

May my guardian spirit (God) be blessed

 
PHILOSOPHICAL  Names


NAMES

SHORT FORMS

GENDER

MEANINGS

Akpobome

Akpobo

Unisex

My own life

Akpofure

Ofure

Male

Life is now peaceful.

Akporovwovwo

Akpovwovwo

Unisex

Good life in later years

Anaborhi

Naborhi

Unisex

Be born with good destiny

Asaroyoma

Sayoma

Female

Comfort zones(people prefer comfort zones)

Ataikiru

Taikiru

Male

Talk (plan) before taking action

Avwunudiogba

Unudiogba

Unisex

Those who profess strength with mere talk

Edaferierhi

Edafe

Male

The rich have good destiny

Edemirukaye

Ede or Demirukai

Male

The day I did them a favor

Eghwrudjakpor

Jakpor or Eghwrudje

Unisex 

I have come to stay / Stranded in this world

Eguono

Guono

Unisex

Love

Ejaita

Jaita

Unisex

Let them say

Ejoyovwi

Joyovwi

Unisex

Let it be good ( a success)

Emarejedje

Omare or Ejedje

Unisex

The elderly also run for life

Emetitiri

Metitiri

Male

Mine is famous

Emudiaga 

Mudiaga

Male

Let's stand firmly

Emuobosa

Muobo

Unisex

Your own thing is precious (unique)

Emuvoke 

Voke

Unisex

Every thing has time

Enakpodia

Nakpodia

Male

The way life should (ought) to be

Enita

Nita

Unisex

Watch what you say

Enitekiru

Eniteh

Unisex

Think before you act

Enivwenaye

Nivwenai

Unisex

Compare my achievements with those of my detractors

Erhinyuse

Use

Unisex 

Guardian Spirit answers prayers

Erhuvwun

Erhus

Unisex

Beauty

Erukainure

Rukainure or Eruks

Unisex

We have aided them (met their challenge)

Etarakpobuno

Etabuno or Tabuno

Unisex

The world has so much to say (much gossip)

Irorokpaka

Rokpaka

Unisex

Our thoughts went far (deep thoughts)

Isio

Isio

Unisex

Stars

Miriodere

Miriode

Unisex

I now have a name

Oba

Oba 

Male

King

Obatare

Atare

Unisex

Destiny

Oborerhinrin

Berhirin

Unisex

Itís your destiny

Odirin

Dirin 

Unisex

Patience

Ogbeta

Gbeta

Male

Bad talk

Oghomena

Omena or Ogho

Unisex 

Here is my respect

Okiremute

Okite

Unisex 

There is time for every thing

Okpako

Kpako

Unisex 

Senior

Omafuvwe

Mafuvwe or Oma 

Unisex 

I am at peace ( All is well with me)

Omenasan

Menasan

Unisex

Mine is unique

Onogaganmue

Ogagan or Ono

Male

Who is intoxicated with prowess (power)?

Onoharhese

Noharhese

Unisex

Who blames good deeds?

Onome

Onome

Unisex 

This is mine

Onomine

Ono or Mimi 

Unisex

Whom do I look up to?

Onoriode

Ono

Unisex

Who knows tomorrow?

Orodena

Orode

Male

The great one

Otevwobrise

Otobrise or Otobru

Unisex

Itís sufficient to make parables

Ovie 

Ovie 

Male

King

Oviereya 

Ovieya 

Female 

Queen

Ovigueraye

Ovigue

Unisex

Everyone with his/her own destiny

Ovuevuraye

Ovuevu or Vuevuraye

Unisex

Everyone has his/her own minds/thougths

Oyabevwe

Oyabe

Unisex

Tired of sojourn

Udumebraye

Udume or Dumebraye

Male

My presence gives them heartache (challenge)

Ufuoma 

Fuoma

Unisex 

Peace of mind

Ughwubetine 

Betine 

Unisex 

No more deaths (dying)

Uruemuesiri 

Esiri  or Uruemu 

Unisex 

Good deeds


Names Based on GENDER


NAMES

SHORT FORMS

GENDER 

MEANINGS

Emetemedia 

Metemedia

Female 

I will always remain a lady

Emeterhire

Emete

Female

Girls have arrived

Enajemete

Emete 

Female

These are also girls 

Esereshareberuo

Ese or Eseberuo

Unisex

Men are hard to please

Eyakodevu

Okodevu

Unisex

Women  can very secretive

Inenevwerha

Nene

Unisex 

There is joy in motherhood

Okoro 

Okoro or Oshare

Male 

Man

Okotete

Okote

Male

Little young man 

Omote

Omote

Unisex 

Girl

Omotejohwo

Omotohwo

Female

A girl is also a human being

Omotekoro

Oro 

Female 

A girl is like gold

Omotore 

Tore or Omote 

Female 

Girlís birth brings festivity 

Umukoko 

Okoko 

Female

Young woman 

Umukoro (Omokoro)

 Mukoro  or Mokoro

Male 

Young man

Umuto

Muto 

Female 

Woman


Names based on People as an important RESOURCE


NAMES

SHORT FORMS

GENDER

MEANINGS

Imonivwerha 

Imoni 

Unisex 

There is joy in having blood relations

Iniovosa 

Niovosa 

Unisex 

Siblings are unique

Odibo 

Odibo 

Unisex

 Disciple (Follower or Servant)

Ohwevwo

Ohwo

Unisex

Good human relationship provides valuable support

Ohwofasa 

Ofasa

Male

A personís status should be defined by his/her achievement.

Ohwonigho

Igho

Male 

A person is greater than riches

Omodibo

Modibo

Unisex

Young disciple (follower or servant) 

Omonigho

Igho 

Unisex

Child is greater than riches

Omonoro

Oro    or    Monoro

Unisex

Child is greater than gold

Omotore

Motore or  Omote 

Female

Girlís birth brings festivity

Onanefe 

Ona  or  Efe

Unisex 

This (child) is greater than riches



Names that indicate SPECIAL DAYS


NAMES 

SHORT FORMS 

GENDER

MEANINGS

Edeki

Deki

Unisex 

Market day

Edewor

Dewor

Male

Traditional religion sacred day of worship

Edidjana

Didjana 

Unisex 

Sunday

Edore

Dore 

Unisex

Day of festivity (festival)

Eduvie

Duvie

Unisex

Glory day  (Day of Glory)

Omotore 

Tore or Motore

Female

Girlís birth brings festivity 

 

Names Related to WEALTH / MONEY

 

NAMES

SHORT FORMS 

GENDER 

MEANINGS

Avwunufe

Efe or wunufe

Unisex

Wealthy only by talk not substance

Edafetanure

Tanure

Male

 The wealthy have spoken

Efediome

Diome

Unisex 

Let riches be mine

Efekodo

Efe or Fekodo

Unisex

Famous with wealth

Efemena 

Efe 

Unisex 

Here is my wealth

Efemini

Efe 

Unisex 

Letís see how wealthy you can be

Efemuaye

Efe

Male 

Those intosticated with riches

Efeturi

Efe or Feturi

Unusex

There are more than 100 types of riches/wealth

Efevwerha

Efe

Unisex 

Wealth is joyful

Efurhievwe

Efe

Unisex

Destined to be wealthy

Ejaife 

Jaife

Male

Let them be rich (wealthy)

Esisorigho

Esiso

Unisex

Bag of money

Etaidaferua 

Taidafe

Male 

Words of the wealthy are more acceptable

Etaredafe

Dafe 

Male 

Words of the wealthy

Igberaharha

Gberaharha

Male

The poor take the blame

Ighofose

Ose or Igho 

Unisex

Money can break close male/female relationships

Ighofovwe

Igho

Unisex

Wealth suites me

Ighohwo

Igho

Unisex

Riches make you human

Ighovavwerhe

Igho

Male

There is joy in riches

Irikefe

Kefe

Male

First to become wealthy

Odafe

Dafe

Male 

Rich individual

Oghonoro

Onoro 

Unisex 

Respect is greater than gold (riches) 

Omoefe

Omo or Efe

Unisex

Child is wealth

Omonigho

Igho 

Unisex 

Child is greater than riches

Omovigho

Omo or Igho

Unisex

 Child brings wealth (means wealth)

Onofeghara

Efe or Nofeghara

Unisex

Who divides (shares) his/ her wealth with others?

Onoharhigho

Igho or Noharhigho

Male

Who blames riches / wealth?

Uduefebraye

Efe or Uduefe

Male

Wealth gives them challenge (heartache)

 

Names in Appreciation of COLOURS

 

NAMES

SHORT FORMS 

GENDER 

MEANINGS

Ahwinahwi

Ahwi

Male

A really black ( dark) individual

Obiebi

Biebi

Unisex

Black (dark)

Ododo

Dodo

Unisex

Red

Ofuafo

Fuafo

Unisex

White

Ofuako

Fuako

Unisex

One with white teeth

Omoyibo

Moyibo

Unisex

Little white / fair skinned person

Oyibo

Oyibo

Unisex

White / fair skinned

Oyibonanarhoro

Oyiborhoro or Oyibo or Oyibode

Male

 This is a big white / fair skinned person

Oyiborhoro

Oyibode or Oyibo

Male

A big white / fair skinned person

Oyiborode

Oyibode or Oyibo

Male

 A big white / fair skinned person

 

Names in Recognition of Types of WEATHER CONDITIONS

 

NAMES

SHORT FORMS 

GENDER 

MEANINGS

Edosio

Ede or Osio

Male

Rainy day

Ohwahwa

Hwahwa

Male

Harmattan/cold season

Okposio

Osio

Unisex

Heavy rain

Osio

Osio

Unisex

Rain

Uvo

Uvo

Male

Dry/Sunny season

        

 Names in Recognition of Significance of NATURAL RESOURCES

 

NAMES

SHORT FORMS 

GENDER 

MEANINGS

Egbo

Egbo

Male

Forest

Emeni

Meni

Male

Small elephant

Emerho

Merho

Male

A special type of (small) catfish

Eni

Eni

Male

Elephant

Erhue

Erhue

Male

A special breed of cow used for traditional ceremonies

Ogoro

Ogoro

Male

Frog

Okpogoro

Ogoro

Male

A big toad

Uloho

Loho

Male

Iroko tree

Urhie

Urhie

Male

River

 

Names in Honour of Cities and Places of BIRTH

 

NAMES

SHORT FORMS 

GENDER 

MEANINGS

Agbarha

Agbarha

Male

Born in Agbarha

Emetisiorho

Isiorho

Unisex

Children born in diaspora

Okpara

Okpara

Male

Born in Okpara

Ometeko

Eko

Female

Girl born in Lagos/Eko

Omorogun

Omo or Morogun

Unisex

Child born in Orogun

Omotughele

Motughele

Female

Girl from Ughelli

Omotukane

Motukane

Female

Girl born in diaspora (Ikale-Yoruba)

Orogun

Orogun

Unisex

Born in Orogun

Sapele

Sapele

Male

Born in Sapele

Uhwokori

Kokori

Male

Born in Uhwokori

 

 


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