118 Nigerian Baby Names and Meanings

118 Nigerian Baby Names and Meanings

Choosing a Nigerian baby name means diving into the rich world of the country’s diversity.

Nigeria boasts over 500 languages and 250 ethnic groups – so when we speak about Nigerian baby names, we’re covering a lot of ground.

The Nigerian diaspora is so vast that unofficial estimates reach up to 15 million people.

From athletes to writers to intellectuals, doctors, and comedians, Nigerians have made their mark in a variety of industries.

And in the world of powerful baby names.

Yes, whether you have Nigerian heritage or are just inspired by the beating heart of this West African nation, Nigerian names offer an inspiring mix of deep meaning and beautiful sounds.

Just cast your eye over the 118 popular, unique, and classic Nigerian baby names we’ve gathered below.

In this article: 📝

  • How do Nigerians name their babies?
  • What are the most common Nigerian names?
  • What is a Nigerian name for a girl?
  • What is a Nigerian boy name?

How do Nigerians name their babies?

With moniker meanings like “the first twin to taste the world”, “joy has filled our home”, and “my siblings are powerful”, nothing about Nigerian names feels accidental or impulsive.

Meaning and context matter a great deal.

But Nigeria is also a highly ethnically diverse country, with each distinct ethnic group holding its own naming traditions.

So, if you’re looking for one singular Nigerian naming practice, it doesn’t exist.

But its four major ethnic groups – the Hausa-Falani, the Igbo, the Yoruba, and the Ijaw – do offer insight into the most common approaches to picking baby names for Nigerian parents.

Because of colonial influence, it’s not uncommon for Ijaw to have European names, Biblical titles, or anglicized versions of their names.

Meanwhile, the Hausa-Fulani people hold naming ceremonies seven days after the birth of the child, with Hausa names often stemming from the Muslim religion.

In the Southwest of Nigeria, Yoruba babies can expect to receive two names.

The first is their oruku name, which often describes the circumstances of their birth – Abiodun means “born during a festival”, while Abidemi means “born during father’s absence”.

Later, parents will bestow an Oríkì name (a praise name) that reflects the qualities they believe their child has or will come to possess.

Equally, for Igbo parents, naming their baby is an intentional act, with many choices based on affirming greatness, honoring circumstances (like a long TTC journey), or hopes for the future.

Each ethnic group has its own unique approach, but many align on one common ground: a name is more than an identity – it can be a story, a generational message, or even an homage to a respected family member.

Across Nigeria, children are named for, amongst other things, the conditions of their birth, the day they were born, their protectors in the world, and the state of their families.

With all that beautiful complexity in mind, let’s explore the most popular Nigerian names.

What are the most common Nigerian names?

Let’s start by looking at what name is at the top of the charts:

What is the most popular name in Nigeria?

According to Forebears.io, the most popular name in Nigeria is drum roll, please:

  1. Musa: This name means prophet and is the Arabic version of the name Moses – a name that comes from the phrase “drawn out of the water”.

But, because there are so many different cultures and languages, there are many other names that vie for the top position.

Here are some of the most common Nigerian names:

Most common Nigerian girl names:

Before we get going, it’s important to note that while we’ve separated this list, many Nigerian names are gender-neutral.

It’s also worth noting that many Nigerian female names rooted in Igbo often stem from Ada, meaning “first daughter”.

Keep your eyes peeled for the variations:

  1. Kehinde: Meaning “arrived last”. This name is often given to the second of a set of twins.
  2. Chioma: Meaning “God is good”. Chioma is a popular Igbo name
  3. Adaku: Meaning “a girl who brings wealth to the family she is born into”.
  4. Fatima: An Arabic girl’s name meaning “the one who abstains”.
  5. Adanna: Meaning “the father’s daughter”.
  6. Sade: Meaning “honor grants a crown”. 👑
  7. Patience: A common Ijaw virtue name meaning “enduring” or, of course, “patience”.
  8. Fadekemi: Meaning “grace me with the crown”.
  9. Chiamaka: Meaning “God is beautiful”.
  10. Dayo: Meaning “joy arrives”. Nothing sums up baby’s debut better.

Most common Nigerian boy names:

You may notice many Nigerian names for boys have Arabic origin.

This is largely down to the majority of Hausa people being devout Muslims.

So, if you see male Nigerian names with a distinctive Islamic influence, you’ll know they stem from Northwestern Nigeria:

  1. Ibrahim: Meaning “my father is exalted”.
  2. Umar: Meaning “flourising”.
  3. Ola: Meaning “wealth”, Ola often finds itself at the beginning of longer Yoruba names.
  4. Chinua: Meaning “God’s blessings”. The name of the famous writer, Chinua Achebe – highly regarded as Africa’s greatest storyteller.
  5. Sani: Meaning “radiance”. ☀️
  6. Adebowale: Meaning “the crown has returned home”.
  7. Oluwa: This is the Yoruba word for “God”.
  8. Olufela: Meaning “God increases wealth”. And, in its shortened form, it’s the name of the famous musician, Fela Kuti.
  9. Abubaker: Meaning “father of a young camel”. A popular Muslim name, Abubaker is often named for the senior companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr.
  10. Mahammadu: This is the Hausa version of the prophet Muhammad.

What is a Nigerian name for a girl?

So, we’ve mentioned above the popularity of the Igbo root Ada, but let’s not forget the prevalence of Chi.

Chi is a key spiritual concept in Nigeria that represents a guardian spirit or the “Igbo personal life force”.

It’s often used in female Nigerian names to keep baby under the protection of a personal spiritual guardian for their whole lives.

Which variation will grab you?

  1. Abebi: Meaning “we asked for a girl”.
  2. Abeni: Meaning “we asked for her and she arrived”.
  3. Abosede: Meaning “a girl who is born on a Sunday”.
  4. Adaeze: Meaning “the daughter of the king”.
  5. Adaego: Meaning “the daughter of wealth”.
  6. Adamma: Meaning “beautiful girl”.
  7. Akachi: Meaning “the hand of God”.
  8. Alaba: Meaning “second child after twins”.
  9. Alheri: Meaning “grace”.
  10. Alika: Meaning “most beautiful”.
  11. Amara: Meaning “grace”.
  12. Ayo: Meaning “joy”. Many names start with Ayo to show joy as part of a larger naming story.
  13. Ayodele: Meaning “joy has arrived”.
  14. Ayotunde: Meaning “joy has returned”.
  15. Chi: Chi means “God” and is often used as the first part of a name.
  16. Chiagozie: Meaning “God has blessed me”.
  17. Chidi: Meaning “God is real”.
  18. Chidinma: Meaning “God is good”.
  19. Chika: Meaning “God is the greatest”.
  20. Chimamanda: Meaning “God will not fail me”. And yes, like the renowned feminist and writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
  21. Chinara: Meaning “God receives”.
  22. Dada: Meaning “curly-haired child”.
  23. Ebele: Meaning “kindness”.
  24. Efe: Meaning “wealth”.
  25. Ekundayo: Meaning “sadness has become joy”.
  26. Funanya: Meaning “love”.
  27. Hadiza: The Hausa version of the name Khadija*, Hadiza means “the one who comes first”.
  28. Ife: Meaning “love”. ❤️
  29. Ifeoma: Meaning “good thing”.
  30. Ifiok: Meaning “wisdom”.
  31. Ige: Meaning “born feet first”.
  32. Ime: Meaning “patience”.
  33. Kayin: Meaning “celebrated one”.
  34. Lolade: Meaning “God is with you”.
  35. Maryamu: The Hausa form of Maryam. This name has a range of connotations, from being connected to the Biblical Miriam (the sister of Moses) to meaning “a sea of bitterness”.
  36. Mojisola: Meaning “wake up to wealth”.
  37. Monifa: Meaning “I am lucky”.
  38. Ndidi: Meaning “patience”.
  39. Ngozi: Meaning “blessing”.
  40. Nkiruka: Meaning “the future is greater with you”.
  41. Nneka: Meaning “my mother is supreme” (yep, that sounds about right).
  42. Nnenna: This name is sometimes given to a child who is believed to be the reincarnation of their father’s mother.
  43. Nnenne: Similar to Nnenna, Nnenne is given to a child believed to be the reincarnation of their mother’s mother.
  44. Nwanneka: Meaning “my siblings are powerful”.
  45. Oghenekevwe: Meaning “God has provided”.
  46. Olubunmi: Meaning “gift from God”.
  47. Omolara: Meaning “a child is family”.
  48. Oni: Meaning “born in a sacred home”.
  49. Sarauniya: Meaning “queen”. 👑
  50. Taiwo: Often given to the first of a set of twins, Taiwo means “the first twin to taste the world”.
  51. Titilayo: Meaning “everlasting joy”.
  52. Ufuoma: Meaning “peace of mind”.
  53. Yejide: Meaning “she looks like her mother”.
  54. Yetunde: Meaning “mother has returned”.


What is a Nigerian boy name?

As you may have noticed, the first letters of Nigerian baby names often carry key clues to their ethnicity.

Just as many Igbo names contain the word chi (often for a girl), many others contain the word chukwu, meaning “the almighty” or “most high”, in reference to the high god.

Complex doesn’t even cut it for Nigerian names:

  1. Achebe: Meaning “You are protected”.
  2. Ade: Meaning “crown”(You will see this as the prefix to many other names that hold the crown).
  3. Adebayo: Meaning “the joyful crown”.
  4. Adebola: Meaning “the crown and wealth”.
  5. Adetokunbo: Meaning “the crown that came from overseas”.
  6. Adisa: Meaning “someone who has clarity”.
  7. Abidemi: Meaning “born while father was away”.
  8. Abimbola: Meaning “born wealthy”.
  9. Afolabi: Meaning “born into wealth and high status”.
  10. Akpan: Meaning “firstborn son”.
  11. Akpofure: Meaning “life is peaceful”.
  12. Alhaji: Meaning “pilgrim”.
  13. Amadi: Meaning “freeman”.
  14. Ayokunle: Meaning “joy has filled our home”.
  15. Azubuike: Meaning “your past is your strength”.
  16. Babatunde: Baba means “father”. Tunde means “returned”. So, Babatunde means “father has returned”.
  17. Bamidele: Meaning “follow me home”.
  18. Bitrus: Meaning “the Hausa version of Peter”.
  19. Chiemeka: Meaning “God has performed great deeds”.
  20. Chizoba: Meaning “God protect us”.
  21. Ekene: Meaning “thanks and praise”.
  22. Ekwueme: Meaning “he does what he says he is going to do”.
  23. Emem: Meaning “peace”.
  24. Enitan: Meaning “a person with a story”.
  25. Enyinnaya: Meaning “father’s friend”.
  26. Folami: Meaning “respect and honor”.
  27. Idowu: Meaning “born after twins”.
  28. Ifeanyichukwu: Meaning “nothing is impossible with God”.
  29. Ikechukwu: Meaning “the power of God”.
  30. Itoro: Meaning “praise god”.
  31. Kayode: Meaning “he who brings joy”.
  32. Kyauta: Meaning “gift”.
  33. Obi: Meaning “heart”. ❤️
  34. Okoro: Meaning “man”.
  35. Olamide: Meaning “wealth has arrived”.
  36. Olamilekan: Meaning “wealth is increased”.
  37. Olu: Meaning “God”, Olu is often seen at the beginning of a greater name.
  38. Olufemi: Meaning “God loves me”.
  39. Olufunmilayo: Meaning “God has given me joy”.
  40. Olumide: Meaning “God has come”.
  41. Sadiq: A Hausa name, Sadiq means “loyal”.
  42. Uduak: Meaning “desire”.
  43. Wole: As in the Noble Prize-winning playwright, Wole Soyinka. His name means “has come home to”.

Nigerian baby names strike a beautiful balance between descriptive and emotionally profound.

They also leave you a host of avenues for naming your baby.

Will you honor your TTC journey, the day of their birth, or the hopes you have for their future?

Whichever you decide, we’d love to see it (and you) on Peanut.

Best of luck in your search mama.

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