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Urhobo Names and Their Meanings

Aruegodore Oyiborhoro, Ed.D., F.A.A.A.

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 “count” 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 ‘long forms’ may in fact be the 'short forms' of the actual long names. The ‘short forms’, 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

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Akpenvwoghene Akpenvwe U Praise God
Anaborhi Naborhi U Be born with good destiny
Edewor Dewor M Sacred day of worship in traditional religion
Ejiroghene Ejiro U Praise God
Ejokparoghene Jokpa or Oghene U Let's trust in God
Ejomafuvwe Jomafuvwe or Jomafu U Let peace reign in my life
Enohor/Elohor Nohor or Lohor F Blessing
Erhiaganoma Erhi or Rhiaganoma M Guardian spirit overpowers the body
Erhimeyoma Oyoma U My guardian spirit (God) is good
Erhinyoja Rhinyoja or Onyoja U Guardian spirit (God) meets our challenges (hears our prayers)
Erhinyuse Use U Guardian spirit (God) answers prayers
Erhiroghene Erhi or Oghene U The spirit of God
Eseoghene Ese U God's gift
Eserovwe Ese or Ovwe U Godís grace or Free gift
Oghenebrume Brume U God decided in my favor
Oghenechovwe Chovwe or Oghene U God aided me
Oghenefejiro Ofejiro or Oghene U God is praiseworthy
Oghenegaren Garen or Oghene U God is great
Oghenekevwe Kevwe or Oghene U God gave (provided for) me
Oghenekohwo Oghene or Kohwo U God provides
Ogheneme Ome or Oghene U My God
Oghenemine Mine or Mimi U I look up to God
Oghenenyore Nyore or Oghene U God answers prayers
Ogheneruemu Oghene U God makes things possible
Oghenerukevwe Rukevwe or Ruks U God did this for me
Ogheneruno Oruno or Runo U God has so much (great)
Oghenetega Tega or Oghene U God is worship-worthy
Oghenevwede Oghenede or Oghene U God owns the day
Oghenevwogagan Gaga or Oghene U God provides all strength
Oghenochuko Ochuko or Oghene U God provides my support
Okeroghene Okeoghene or Oghene U Godís own time
Omamerhi Mamerhi or Oma U Good guardian spirit
Onakpoma Ono U Who creates life?
Onomavwe Ono U Who is my creator?
Onomine Ono or Mimi U Whom do I look up to?
Onovughakpor Ono or Onovughe U Who can predict what life can bring?
Oyovwikemo Kemo or Yovwike U May our children be blessed
Oyovwikerhi Kerhi or Yovwike U May my guardian spirit (God) be blessed

Names with CHALLENGE Connotations

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Achojah Achojah M Rise up to challenge
Aruegodore Egodo M We have come (established) home
Edojah Dojah M Day of challenge
Efemini Efe M Let's see how wealthy you can be
Efetobo Efe U Wealth is achieved
Efetobore Tobore M Wealth has now been achieved
Etanomare Tanomare or Nomare U Freed from blame (despair)
Ighomuedafe Igho or Dafe M Money intoxicates the wealthy
Miriodere Miriode U I now have a name
Mitaire Mitai U I have achieved (reached) their match
Mivwodere Mivwode U I now have a name
Oboganriemu Obogan M Be strong to survive (eat)
Ogbamremu Ogba M The brave meets a lot of challenges
Ojakorotu Jakorotu or Orotu M This is a group challenge
Ojanomare Janoma U I have met the challenge
Onajite Ojite U This is sufficient
Onanojah Onojah M This is a challenge
Onogaganmue Ono or Ogagan M Who is intoxicated with power?
Onoharhese Noharhese U Who blames good deeds?
Udumebraye Udume or Dumebraye M My presence gives them heartache (challenge)

Names with ACHIEVEMENT Connotations

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Edafetanure Tanure M The wealthy have spoken
Efemena Efe U Here is my wealth
Efemuaye Efe M Those intoxicated with riches
Efetobore Tobore M Wealth has now been achieved
Etanomare Tanomare or Tanoma M Freed from blame / despair
Etaredafe Dafe M Words of the wealthy
Ighomuedafe Igho or Dafe M Money intoxicates the wealthy
Ighovavwerhe Igho M There is joy in riches
Irikefe Kefe M First to become wealthy
Miriodere / Mivwodere Miriode or Mivwode U I now have a name
Mitaire Mitaire U I have reached their match
Odafe Dafe M Rich individual
Odavwaro Odaro U I am contented
Oghomena Ogho or Omena U Here is my respect
Oghonoro Ogho or Onoro U Respect is greater than gold (riches)
Okagbare Kagbare M Now I have all styles / skills
Omonigho Omo or Igho U Child is greater than riches
Omonoro Omo or Onoro U Child is greater than gold
Onajite Ojite or Jite U This is sufficient
Onogaganmue Ogagan or Ono M Who is intoxicated with prowess (power)?
Orodena Orode M The great one

Names with Connotations of APPRECIATION

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Akpenvwoghene Akpenvwe U Praise God
Ejiroghene Ejiro or Oghene U Praise God
Eseoghene Ese or Oghene U God's gift
Norioghene Norien U Look at Godís judgment
Oghenebrume Brume U God decided in my favor
Oghenechovwe Chovwe or Oghene U God supported me
Oghenefejiro Ofejiro or Oghene U God is praiseworthy
Oghenekevwe Kevwe U God gave me (this child)
Oghenenyerhovwo Nyerhovwo or Oghene U God answers prayers
Oghenerhoro Oghene U God is great
Ogheneruemu Oghene U God makes things possible
Oghenerukevwe Rukevwe or Ruks U God did this for me
Ogheneruno Runo or Oruno U God has done so much (great)
Oghenetega Tega U God is worship worthy
Oghenochuko Ochuko or Oghene U God provides my support
Onoharhese Noharhese U Who blames good deeds?
Oyovwikerhi Kerhi or Yovwike U May my guardian spirit (God) be blessed

PHILOSOPHICAL Names

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Akpobome Akpobo U My own life
Akpofure Ofure M Life is now peaceful.
Akporovwovwo Akpovwovwo U Good life in later years
Anaborhi Naborhi U Be born with good destiny
Asaroyoma Sayoma F Comfort zones(people prefer comfort zones)
Ataikiru Taikiru M Talk (plan) before taking action
Avwunudiogba Unudiogba U Those who profess strength with mere talk
Edaferierhi Edafe M The rich have good destiny
Edemirukaye Ede or Demirukai M The day I did them a favor
Eghwrudjakpor Jakpor or Eghwrudje U I have come to stay / Stranded in this world
Eguono Guono U Love
Ejaita Jaita U Let them say
Ejoyovwi Joyovwi U Let it be good (a success)
Emarejedje Omare or Ejedje U The elderly also run for life
Emetitiri Metitiri M Mine is famous
Emudiaga Mudiaga M Let's stand firmly
Emuobosa Muobo U Your own thing is precious (unique)
Emuvoke Voke U Every thing has time
Enakpodia Nakpodia M The way life should (ought) to be
Enita Nita U Watch what you say
Enitekiru Eniteh U Think before you act
Enivwenaye Nivwenai U Compare my achievements with those of my detractors
Erhinyuse Use U Guardian Spirit answers prayers
Erhuvwun Erhus U Beauty
Erukainure Rukainure or Eruks U We have aided them (met their challenge)
Etarakpobuno Etabuno or Tabuno U The world has so much to say (much gossip)
Irorokpaka Rokpaka U Our thoughts went far (deep thoughts)
Isio Isio U Stars
Miriodere Miriode U I now have a name
Oba Oba M King
Obatare Atare U Destiny
Oborerhinrin Berhirin U Itís your destiny
Odirin Dirin U Patience
Ogbeta Gbeta M Bad talk
Oghomena Omena or Ogho U Here is my respect
Okiremute Okite U There is time for every thing
Okpako Kpako U Senior
Omafuvwe Mafuvwe or Oma U I am at peace ( All is well with me)
Omenasan Menasan U Mine is unique
Onogaganmue Ogagan or Ono M Who is intoxicated with prowess (power)?
Onoharhese Noharhese U Who blames good deeds?
Onome Onome U This is mine
Onomine Ono or Mimi U Whom do I look up to?
Onoriode Ono U Who knows tomorrow?
Orodena Orode M The great one
Otevwobrise Otobrise or Otobru U Itís sufficient to make parables
Ovie Ovie M King
Oviereya Ovieya F Queen
Ovigueraye Ovigue U Everyone with his/her own destiny
Ovuevuraye Ovuevu or Vuevuraye U Everyone has his/her own minds/thougths
Oyabevwe Oyabe U Tired of sojourn
Udumebraye Udume or Dumebraye M My presence gives them heartache (challenge)
Ufuoma Fuoma U Peace of mind
Ughwubetine Betine U No more deaths (dying)
Uruemuesiri Esiri or Uruemu U Good deeds

Names Based on GENDER

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Emetemedia Metemedia F I will always remain a lady
Emeterhire Emete F Girls have arrived
Enajemete Emete F These are also girls
Esereshareberuo Ese or Eseberuo U Men are hard to please
Eyakodevu Okodevu U Womencan very secretive
Inenevwerha Nene U There is joy in motherhood
Okoro Okoro or Oshare M Man
Okotete Okote M Little young man
Omote Omote U Girl
Omotejohwo Omotohwo F A girl is also a human being
Omotekoro Oro F A girl is like gold
Omotore Tore or Omote F Girlís birth brings festivity
Umukoko Okoko F Young woman
Umukoro (Omokoro) Mukoro or Mokoro M Young man
Umuto Muto F Woman

Names based on People as an important RESOURCE

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Imonivwerha Imoni U There is joy in having blood relations
Iniovosa Niovosa U Siblings are unique
Odibo Odibo U Disciple (Follower or Servant)
Ohwevwo Ohwo U Good human relationship provides valuable support
Ohwofasa Ofasa M A personís status should be defined by his/her achievement.
Ohwonigho Igho M A person is greater than riches
Omodibo Modibo U Young disciple (follower or servant)
Omonigho Igho U Child is greater than riches
Omonoro Oro or Monoro U Child is greater than gold
Omotore Motore or Omote F Girlís birth brings festivity
Onanefe Ona or Efe U This (child) is greater than riches

Names that indicate SPECIAL DAYS

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Edeki Deki U Market day
Edewor Dewor M Traditional religion sacred day of worship
Edidjana Didjana U Sunday
Edore Dore U Day of festivity (festival)
Eduvie Duvie U Glory day (Day of Glory)
Omotore Tore or Motore F Girlís birth brings festivity

Names Related to WEALTH / MONEY

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Avwunufe Efe or wunufe U Wealthy only by talk not substance
Edafetanure Tanure M The wealthy have spoken
Efediome Diome U Let riches be mine
Efekodo Efe or Fekodo U Famous with wealth
Efemena Efe U Here is my wealth
Efemini Efe U Letís see how wealthy you can be
Efemuaye Efe M Those intosticated with riches
Efeturi Efe or Feturi Unusex There are more than 100 types of riches/wealth
Efevwerha Efe U Wealth is joyful
Efurhievwe Efe U Destined to be wealthy
Ejaife Jaife M Let them be rich (wealthy)
Esisorigho Esiso U Bag of money
Etaidaferua Taidafe M Words of the wealthy are more acceptable
Etaredafe Dafe M Words of the wealthy
Igberaharha Gberaharha M The poor take the blame
Ighofose Ose or Igho U Money can break close M/F relationships
Ighofovwe Igho U Wealth suites me
Ighohwo Igho U Riches make you human
Ighovavwerhe Igho M There is joy in riches
Irikefe Kefe M First to become wealthy
Odafe Dafe M Rich individual
Oghonoro Onoro U Respect is greater than gold (riches)
Omoefe Omo or Efe U Child is wealth
Omonigho Igho U Child is greater than riches
Omovigho Omo or Igho U Child brings wealth (means wealth)
Onofeghara Efe or Nofeghara U Who divides (shares) his/ her wealth with others?
Onoharhigho Igho or Noharhigho M Who blames riches / wealth?
Uduefebraye Efe or Uduefe M Wealth gives them challenge (heartache)

Names in Appreciation of COLOURS

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Ahwinahwi Ahwi M A really black ( dark) individual
Obiebi Biebi U Black (dark)
Ododo Dodo U Red
Ofuafo Fuafo U White
Ofuako Fuako U One with white teeth
Omoyibo Moyibo U Little white / fair skinned person
Oyibo Oyibo U White / fair skinned
Oyibonanarhoro Oyiborhoro or Oyibo or Oyibode M This is a big white / fair skinned person
Oyiborhoro Oyibode or Oyibo M A big white / fair skinned person
Oyiborode Oyibode or Oyibo M A big white / fair skinned person

Names in Recognition of Types of WEATHER CONDITIONS

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Edosio Ede or Osio M Rainy day
Ohwahwa Hwahwa M Harmattan/cold season
Okposio Osio U Heavy rain
Osio Osio U Rain
Uvo Uvo M Dry/Sunny season

Names in Recognition of Significance of NATURAL RESOURCES

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Egbo Egbo M Forest
Emeni Meni M Small elephant
Emerho Merho M A special type of (small) catfish
Eni Eni M Elephant
Erhue Erhue M A special breed of cow used for traditional ceremonies
Ogoro Ogoro M Frog
Okpogoro Ogoro M A big toad
Uloho Loho M Iroko tree
Urhie Urhie M River

Names in Honour of Cities and Places of BIRTH

Name Short Form Gender Meaning
Agbarha Agbarha M Born in Agbarha
Emetisiorho Isiorho U Children born in diaspora
Okpara Okpara M Born in Okpara
Ometeko Eko F Girl born in Lagos/Eko
Omorogun Omo or Morogun U Child born in Orogun
Omotughele Motughele F Girl from Ughelli
Omotukane Motukane F Girl born in diaspora (Ikale-Yoruba)
Orogun Orogun U Born in Orogun
Sapele Sapele M Born in Sapele
Uhwokori Kokori M Born in Uhwokori

Gender Key:
M = Male
F = Female
U = Unisex

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