101 Swahili Baby Names & Their Meanings

101 Swahili Baby Names & Their Meanings

If you’ve ever visited East Africa, you’ll know just how charming Swahili can sound, and the same goes for Swahili baby names.

Also called Kiswahili, this lively, lilting language is an intriguing blend of Bantu and Arabic that speaks of history and cultural diversity.

And with over 200 million speakers, it’s little wonder that Swahili is celebrated as a unifying language.

Whether you speak it as a mother tongue, a fluent second language, or feel closely connected to its East African roots, Swahili offers deeply meaningful names.

And if you don’t, Swahili words are generally easy to pronounce.

As Swahili language expert P. I. Iribemwang tells us there are no words in Swahili that have silent letters – you pronounce all the vowels and consonants you see.

The only exception is the word korti, which means “court” and which has a silent “r”.

Also, words in Swahili also often end with an open vowel.

This means that at the end of the word, your tongue is as far away as possible from the roof of your mouth, which makes for lovely, warm, rounded words.

But don’t worry too much about these technicalities.

What matters is that the meaning of the Swahili name you’ve chosen for your little arrival resonates with you culturally and on a deeper level.

Here are a few ideas to get you inspired.

In this article: 📝

  • Top 20 Swahili names and their meanings
  • 20 beautiful Swahili girl names
  • 20 Swahili names for boys
  • Less common Swahili names for your baby girl or boy

Top 20 Swahili names and their meanings

Familiarize yourself with Swahili baby names, and you will quickly see the difficulty in narrowing them down!

We accepted the challenge, and here’s hoping you’ll find your jewel among these 20 most beautiful and popular Swahili names and their meanings:

  1. Abedi: A boy’s name, Abedi means “worshiper”.
  2. Amani: In Arabic, this gender-neutral name means “wish” but also means “peace” in Swahili.
  3. Ayanna or Ayana: A girls’ name meaning “beautiful flower”. 🌹
  4. Azizi: The ideal name for your precious boy, Azizi, means “precious treasure”.
  5. Aziz: A common Swahili name meaning “strong” or “powerful”.
  6. Akili Meaning “one who uses reason” or “wise”.
  7. Dalila: Meaning “gentle” or “delicate” in Swahili, Delila is a girl’s name.
  8. Jabari: Jabari is a boy’s name from the Swahili word for “brave” or “valiant”.
  9. Jabali A formidable Swahili name meaning “strong as a rock”.
  10. Johari: Originally from the Arabic word jawhar, Johari means “essence” or “jewel”. 💎
  11. Kadija: Did your baby girl arrive early? If so, Kadija, which means “early baby” (as well as “respected and trustworthy”), might be the perfect name. You can also spell it Khadija.
  12. Khari: A boy’s name, Khari means “kingly”. It’s related to other Swahili names like Kharim, Hari, and Khan. 👑
  13. Lela: Meaning “dark beauty”, this Swahili girl’s name is rooted in the Arabic word leila.
  14. Malaika: Malaika is a girl’s name that means “angel” from the Arabic malak.
  15. Nia: If your shining baby girl feels like she’s given your life purpose, you might consider calling her Nia, which means “lustrous”, “goal”, or “purpose” in Swahili.
  16. Omari: Omari is a boy’s name that means “God the highest” or “flourishing”.
  17. Sadiki: Sadiki is a girl’s name that means “faithful” and “loyal”.
  18. Safia: Safia, a girl’s name, means “friend” or pure. You can also spell it Safiya if you wish.
  19. Thimba: Thimba refers to “he who hunts lions”. 🦁
  20. Zuri: A girl’s name, Zuri means “beautiful”. Need we say more?

20 beautiful Swahili girl names

Swahili names for girls aren’t just a pleasure to the ear, their meanings inspire drive, direction, and self-love:

  1. Adea: Meaning “a kind gift from God”. This name can also be spelled Adia or Adiah.
  2. Adimu: Meaning “rare”.
  3. Taraji: In Swahili, Taraji means “hope” or “faith”.
  4. Barika: This Arabic boy’s name means “to blossom” or “to be successful”.
  5. Binti: Meaning “daughter”.
  6. Chiku: Do you think your little girl is likely to be a chatterbox? Chiku means “the one who talks a lot”. 📣
  7. Jamala: Meaning “beauty” in both Swahili and Arabic.
  8. Kamili: In Swahili, Kamili means “flawless” or “perfect”. It’s very similar to the Arabic name Kamil, which means “complete” or “satisfactory”.
  9. Nala: For the The Lion King fans, Nalah means “lioness”.
  10. Nalla: Meaning “successful one, who achieved everything”.
  11. Niara: This name also has Sanskrit origins, it means “with utmost purpose”. It can also be spelled Niarah or Niyara.
  12. Ramla: Ramla means “prophetess”.
  13. Salima or Salma: Meaning “to greet”.
  14. Safiri: Meaning “journey”.
  15. Sanora: Meaning “kitten”. Don’t be fooled by the cute factor, this name promises independence, curiosity, and grace in abundance. Still adorable though… 🐈
  16. Shani: Meaning “marvel” or “wonderous”, Shani has both Hebrew and Sanskrit roots.
  17. Terema: A happy name for your happy baby girl. Terema means “cheerful one”.
  18. Zahara: Meaning “flower” in Swahili, Zahara also means “to shine” or “to bloom” in Hebrew.
  19. Zalika: Meaning “well-born”.
  20. Zuwena: Meaning “good”.

Want more inspiring Swahili girl names? Check out our list here.

20 Swahili names for boys

Swahili boy names are every bit as strong and brave as you might expect, but you’ll also find a few gentle giants in there too (and a rebel too):

  1. Akida: Meaning “chief” or “officer”.
  2. Asani: For your little mischief maker, Asani means “rebellious”.
  3. Chacha: Meaning “strong man”.
  4. Hamu: Meaning “longing” or “yearning”.
  5. Imani: Meaning “faith”.
  6. Jabali: Meaning “strong as a rock”.
  7. Jasiri: Meaning “brave”, this name is perfect for your courageous, bold, and adventurous little boy
  8. Jirani: Meaning “neighbor”.
  9. Kabili: Meaning “honest and brave”.
  10. Kinai: A gentle name that seems to reflect its meaning, Kinai means “contentment”.
  11. Kito: Meaning “jewel”.
  12. Maulana: Meaning “lord”.
  13. Mwangaza or Mwanga: This boys’ name means light. ✨
  14. Nafasi: Translates loosely as “space” or “ability”.
  15. Pendo: Meaning love.
  16. Sahel: Sahel means “leader”.
  17. Salimu: Salimu means “to greet”.
  18. Sefu: Meaning “sword”.
  19. Tabari: Meaning “he remembers”.
  20. Zuberi: Meaning “strong”. 💪

Looking for more Swahili names for a baby boy? We’ve got you covered.

Less common Swahili names for your baby girl or boy

  1. Radhi: Meaning “apology” or “to be granted forgiveness”. ♀️
  2. Adia: Meaning “gift” or “noble”. ♀️
  3. Ahadi: Meaning “promise”. ♀️
  4. Akiba: Meaning “savings”. ♂️
  5. Amali: Meaning “hope”. ♀️
  6. Amini: A multicultural name meaning “trust” in Swahili.♀️ ♂️
  7. Aminia: Meaning “faithful”. ♀️
  8. Asali: Meaning “honey”.♀️
  9. Baloz:i Meaning “consul”. ♂️
  10. Chaniya: Meaning “wealthy”. ♀️
  11. Fahari: Meaning “splendor”. ♀️
  12. Haki: Meaning “justice”. ♀️
  13. Hasina: Meaning “beautiful”. ♀️
  14. Jenga: Meaning “to build”. ♂️
  15. Kiango: Meaning “shield”. ♂️
  16. Kina: Meaning “depth”. ♂️
  17. Kijani: The Swahili for “green” or “leaves”. ♂️
  18. Kimya: Meaning “silent”.♀️
  19. Lulu: Meaning precious” or “pearl”.♀️
  20. Maarifa: Meaning “knowledgeable” and “learned”.♀️
  21. Mosi: Meaning “firstborn child”. ♀️ ♂️
  22. Najia: Meaning “offspring”. ♀️
  23. Nuru: Meaning “light”.♀️ ♂️
  24. Nyimbo: Meaning “song”.♀️
  25. Nyota: Meaning “star”.♀️
  26. Rafiki: Meaning “friend”.♂️
  27. Sadeeki or Sadiki: Meaning “faithful”.♂️
  28. Safari: Meaning “journey”.♀️ ♂️
  29. Salama: Meaning “security” or “safe”. ♀️♂️
  30. Shujaa: Meaning “warrior”. ♂️
  31. Simba: Meaning “lion”.♂️
  32. Tamasha: Meaning “joyous occasion”.♀️
  33. Tosha: Meaning “satisfaction”.♀️
  34. Tumaini: Meaning “hope”. ♂️
  35. Uhuru: Meaning “freedom”, “independence”, or “chastity”.♂️
  36. Ujana: Meaning “youth”.♀️
  37. Wema: Meaning “good” or “kindhearted”.♀️
  38. Wimbo: Meaning “song”.♀️
  39. Yazid: Meaning “increasing”. ♂️
  40. Zahur: Meaning “to blossom”. You can also spell it Zahour.♂️
  41. Zuberi: Meaning “strong”.♂️

Looking for other options from Africa?

We’ve got lists of the best African baby girl names and the best African baby boy names to help you.

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