Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest country and an ancient cradle of human culture. What’s more, Ethiopian names for babies are as unique as the country itself. If you’d like your baby to march to the beat of their own drum, and want to give them a name that inspires pride, independence, faith, and a sense of history, you can’t go wrong with one of these Ethiopian baby names.
In this article: 📝
- What are some popular Ethiopian names?
- 47 of the best Ethiopian male names
- 47 of the best Ethiopian female names
- What are some Ethiopian boy names that mean “God’s gift”?
- What are some Ethiopian girl names that mean “God’s gift”?
What are some popular Ethiopian names?
Ethiopia is a country with over 83 languages across nine regions. What does that mean for Ethiopian baby names? The list of popular names is long, varied, and full of potential. We’ve whittled this list down to 100 of the most popular Ethiopian names and their meanings from the country’s two most widely spoken languages: Amharic and Oromo.
47 of the best Ethiopian male names
A to D
- Abai. A name for the River Nile.
- Addisu. Meaning “the new one”.
- Afework. A gender-neutral Ethiopian baby name meaning “one who speaks about pleasant things”.
- Ajani. A traditional Ethiopian name that shares roots with names from other African cultures, including the Sanskrit language. Ajani means “victor”.
- Aklilu. With versions from many of Ethiopia’s regions, this male name means “laurel wreath” or “crown”.
- Alimayu. A name of distinction capturing Ethiopia’s strong Christian tradition, this means “In honor of God”.
- Anbassa. Another name with variations throughout Ethiopia, this iconic name means “lion”.
- Bemnet. “In trust”.
- Biruk. An Amharic version of the more internationally recognizable Barack, this means “blessed”.
- Cherenet. “Kindness”.
- Dejen. Amharic form of the Hebrew David, which means “pillar”.
- Desta. A name for both boys and girls that means “joy”.
E to H
- Eskender. An ancient emperor in Ethiopia and the equivalent of Alexander, this name means “defender of mankind”.
- Fikru. Meaning “his love”, with many variations across the country.
- Fikremariam. A variation on Fikru, this time meaning “love of Mary”.
- Gebre. A name meaning ‘servant’ on its own or as a prefix to other names, such as Gebre-Meskel (“servant of the cross’’), Gebre-Mariam (“servant of Mary”), or Gebre-Selassie (“servant of the Trinity”).
- Haile. Easily one of the most famous Ethiopian names, it means “power”, and was the name of the famous Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie.
- Haile-Mariam. “The power of Mary”.
- Haile-Selassie. “The power of the Trinity”.
I to N
- Isayas. An Amharic alternative to Isaiah.
- Jember. Meaning “the sun”
- Kassahun. Meaning “gift”.
- Kebede. An unusual but beautiful name which has the poetic meaning, “he became heavy, he became honored”.
- Kefyalew. “Above others”.
- Kidus. “Blessed” or “holy”.
- Kokebe. “My star”.
- Lami. Oromo name meaning “nation”.
- Makonnen. “Aristocrat” or “king”. This is one of Ethiopia’s most dignified names and is famous as the name of Haile Selassie’s father, the military leader, Makonnen Wolde Mikael.
- Menelik. If you want a regal name that also reflects some glory back onto you, this might be a good choice. It means “son of the wise”.
- Mesfin. Another royal moniker. This one means “prince”.
- Nahome. “Compassionate”.
- Neberu. “Leopard”.
- Negash. “He who is in line to the throne”.
- Netsanet. “Freedom”.
O to Z
- Selassie. One of the most recognizable Ethiopian names, as the name of Ethiopia’s first emperor, it means “the Trinity”.
- Shewangizaw. “Rule over Shewa”, a region in central Ethiopia north of Addis Ababa.
- Tadele. “Fortunate”.
- Tadesse. “Renewed”.
- Tafari. “Awe-inspiring”. Haile Selassie’s given name.
- Tamrat. “Miracle”.
- Tilahun. Tila literally means “umbrella” in Amharic, so this lovely name means “shelter” or “shelter from the rain”.
- Tsegaye. “My wealth”.
- Workneh. “You are gold”. We love the sentiment behind this one.
- Yafet. “Handsome”.
- Yidnekachew. “Let them be amazed”.
- Zelalem. “Eternal”.
- Zewdu. “Crown”.
47 of the best Ethiopian female names
A to D
- Abeba. “Flower blooming”. You might recognize this as the root of the second part of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa.
- Alitash. “May I not lose you”.
- Amhara. The name of the Amhara people and a beautiful girls’ name too.
- Ayana. “Beautiful flower”.
- Belkis. Beautiful and declarative, this Ethiopian girl’s name means “The Queen of Sheba”.
- Dinkinesh. “You are a marvel.” She certainly will be.
- Etenesh. A lovely, lilting name which means “my sister”.
E to H
- Fana. Meaning “light”.
- Gelila. This Ethiopian name for girls means “tempting beauty”.
- Genet. “Paradise” or “heaven”.
- Genzebe. “Heaven”.
- Habesha. Linked to the Ethiopian highlands region.
- Hamelmal. Meaning “from the Bible”.
- Hawi. “Hope”.
- Hirut. “Freedom”.
I to N
- Iniku. “Jewel”.
- Jahzara. An unusual name meaning “beloved princess”.
- Kelemi. “Colorful”.
- Kelile. For a baby girl destined to grow into a strong warrior, this lovely name means “My protector”.
- Keren. “Ray of light”.
- Kidist. “Blessed”.
- Lishan. “Award” or “medal”.
- Luliya. This beautiful Ethiopian baby name is from the Tigrayan region, and means “diamond”.
- Louama. “Sleep well” (we hope she does).
- Mahlet. The name of a chant given by priests of the Ethiopian Orthodox church to praise God.
- Mariam. The Ethiopian equivalent of Mary.
- Maramawit. “Mother of God”.
- Marye. “My honey”.
- Mihret. “God’s mercy”.
- Meskerem. “September”.
- Negassi. “She who will be crowned”.
- Nebiri. “Leopard”
- Nesuha. “Sincerity”.
O to Z
- Rahwa. Another name from Tigrinya, the language of Tigray, meaning “satisfied”.
- Rebka. Ethiopian version of the Biblical name Rebecca.
- Samrawit. “She who unifies”.
- Sebie. As in the season of fall.
- Selam. A name that’s also seen in Hebrew, this means “peace”.
- Taitu. The name of the legendary Ethiopian empress who founded Addis Ababa. What a namesake!
- Tirunesh. “You are good”.
- Tizita. “Memory”.
- Tsehay. “The sun”.
- Wiha. “Water”.
- Yeshimebet. “Mistress of a thousand”.
- Zere. “My good seed”. This is used as a name for both boys and girls in Ethiopia.
- Zeudi. “Crown”
- Zufan. “Throne”.
What are some Ethiopian boy names that mean “God’s gift”?
If you’ve got your heart set on a Christian name to celebrate your little blessing, Ethiopia has many names meaning “God’s gift” to choose from. Here are just a few:
- Tewedros (pronounced “Ted-rohs”).
What are some Ethiopian girl names that mean “God’s gift”?
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Still looking for the perfect name? If you’re hoping to find a name from an African country or something that captures a beautiful global spirit, try some of these articles next:
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Good luck, or as they say in Ethiopia, Melkem Edel!