From the sweetly poetic Jahori (“jewel”) to the adorable Chiku (“one who talks a lot”) to the calming Amani (“peace”), Swahili baby girl names are packed with meaning.
We’ll take you through our favorites — as well as give you some background to the fascinating language that birthed them.
Let’s dive in.
In this article: 📝
- The Swahili language
- Choosing a Swahili name
- Swahili girl names and meanings
The Swahili language
Swahili is a Bantu language primarily spoken in East Africa, with a vast number of speakers in Tanzania, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda.
There are also Swahili speakers in other African countries, including Somalia and Mozambique.
The language has a range of different influences.
One of the most significant is Arabic because of the history between the African east coast and northern traders.
In fact, the word Swahili itself is rooted in the Arabic word sawāḥilī, meaning “of the coast.”
Choosing a Swahili name
Because Swahili is spoken by a range of unique cultures, it comes with a host of different naming traditions.
In Kenya, for example, it’s common for children to be given three names, one selected by the parents and one selected by each set of grandparents.
The order, time, and circumstances of a baby’s birth can all act as inspiration for names.
And in more modern times, celebrity culture has also played a role in how parents select the perfect pick for their new arrival.
Whether you have Swahili roots or are simply inspired by the energy of this East Coast language, Swahili names for girls are a great place to start your search.
Ready to explore? Let’s go.
Swahili girl names and meanings
If you’re looking for Swahili names for girls that exude strength, virtue, and thoughtfulness, you’re in luck.
Approved by native Swahili speaker and translator Christine Nyamai, our curated collection of names offers plenty of inspo for you and your leader-in-the-making.
Ready to authentically connect to your heritage?
Let’s dive deep into those Swahili roots:
- Adhra: This name has Arabic roots and means “apology”.
- Adila: Also with Arabic origins, Adila means “fair,” “honest,” or “just”.
- Alma: Meaning “nourishing”.
- Amani: From the Swahili word for “peace”, a little Amani is exactly what we need in our world right now.
- Amina: This lovely virtue name means “trustworthy”. It also means “shielded” or “protected”, with Ameena and Amineh offering equally beautiful alternatives.
- Ashia: Not only does this name sound sweet, but it also has a vital meaning—“life” and “hope”.
- Asha or Aisha: Closely linked to Ashia above, these subtle, soft Swahili names also mean “hope”.
- Aziza: This name has both Arabic and Hebrew roots and means “powerful and beloved”. We think that’s a winning combo.
- Bahati: You can thank your lucky stars for bringing you to this name: it means “luck” and “fortunate”.
- Barika: From its Arabic roots, Barika means “to bloom” or “be successful”. There’s a bright future ahead for a little Barika!
- Chausiku: If your little one was born when the moon was out, this might just be a great fit. It means “one who was born at night”.
- Chiku: Have a little chatterbox-to-be on your hands? This adorable name means “one who talks a lot”. 📣
- Dalila: A version of the name Delilah, this powerful name means “delicate” or “guide”.
- Durra: From Arabic roots, Durra means “pearl”.
- Furaha: Meaning “joy” or “happy one”.
- Hasnaa: This attractive Arabic girl’s name means “beauty”.
- Imani: With its musical sound, Imani means “belief” or “faith”. It, too, has Arabic origins.
- Imara: This is the perfect name for a mighty little girl. It means “firm”. No messing with an Imara!
- Habiba: Totally endearing, this name has Arabic roots and means “sweetheart” or “beloved”.
- Jamala: This warmhearted name means “friendly” or “well-mannered”.
- Jani: This adorable name is the Swahili word for “leaf”. 🍃
- Jioni: The perfect name to set the sun to, Jioni means “evening.”
- Johari: This precious name means “essence”.
- Kamaria: A romantic name that means “moonlight”. A unique moon baby name
- Kamili: This perfect name means “flawless” or “complete”. Enough said!
- Lela or Leela: This poetic name of Persian roots means “dark-haired beauty” or “night.”
- Lila: Meaning “goodness”.
- Lola: Meaning “look or marvel at this” (can be the goodness of a child). A perfect Swahili girl’s name for a proud parent.
- Malaika: With its musical sounds, this heavenly name means “angel”.
- Maria: A multicultural Latin name, gracing Spanish, Italian, and even Scandinavian baby name lists. Little wonder it should be a popular Swahili name. It means “of the sea” or “rebellious”.
- Marini: This delightful name means “charming” and “healthy”.
- Mosi: Meaning “firstborn child”, this is a perfect name for new mamas.
- Nadira: With its Arabic roots, this one-of-a-kind name means “unusual” or “unique”. Also has roots in the Swahili word nadra, which means “scarce”.
- Nahla: From its Arabic origins, this gorgeous name means “first drink of water”. But it also has other possible meanings, including “successful one” and “gift”. Of course, thanks to The Lion King, Nala rose in popularity as a fearless Disney name. 🦁
- Najuma: A name brimming with happiness, Najuma means “abounding in joy”.
- Nuru: If you’re looking for Swahili names that mean light, this is a great option.
- Penda or Pendo: This charming name refers to the Swahili word for “love”.
- Pili: If this is Baby Number Two, Pili could be a great fit. It means “born second”. It also makes for a pretty adorable twin baby name. 👬🏽
- Rahma: With its Arabic roots, Rahma means “compassion” and “mercy.” Variations include Rehma and Rehema.
- Ramla: This interesting name of Arabic origin means “sand” and “prophet”.
- Salma/Salima: Meaning “peaceful”. Even its pronunciation sounds zen.
- Subira: Meaning “patience” or “waiting”.
- Tumaini: Meaning “hope”.
- Ua: A short sweet Swahili girl’s name. It means “flower” or “beautiful”. 🌸
- Waridi: Also means “flower” or “beautiful”. 🌺
- Wema: Meaning “goodness”.
- Zahara: Of Arabic and Hebrew origins, Zahara means “flowering” or “shining”.
- Zalika: From its Arabic roots, Zalika means “incredibly beautiful”. It can also mean “noble”.
- Zawadi: This name is a gift. In fact, “gift” is what it means! 🎁
- Zuhura: Swahili for “the planet Venus”. Also means “shine”.
- Zuri: With its Arabic roots, Zuri means “good”. It can also mean “beautiful”, “awesome”, or “adorable”. Sold!
- Zuwena: And last but absolutely not least, Zuwena means “good”.
Your search for inspiring Swahili names doesn’t need to end here – check out our 101 expert-approved Swahili baby names and meanings.
If you’d like to expand your search, there’s always our gorgeous collection of African baby girl names (we dare you to resist Siphesihle).
And if you want to exchange ideas with other mamas-to-be, join the Peanut community.
The conversation is always flowing.