“When a person is given a name, his gods accept.” – Igbo proverb

Traditions like the naming ceremony demonstrate the importance of names within Igbo society. In Igbo, the ceremony is referred to as “Igu Afa”.

In contemporary Igbo culture, the custom is usually performed on the eighth day after the child is born. Two names are usually given to the child by each side of the family. However, only one name is retained for later life.

Within the diaspora and those in Nigeria who live outside of Igboland. The tradition and context of names can become a lost part of a person’s heritage.

Many of us living abroad bear surnames that feel alien to us, relics from a culture that has often not been explained or elaborated to us.

In the modern globalised world, names can be a unique glimpse into a person’s history and origin. With surnames, in particular, being important indicators that map the collective journey of a family or clan.

At Okwu ID we are drafting a register archiving Igbo surnames and their meanings. 

If you know of/have an Igbo surname, or if you have ever wondered what the meaning and context of your surname is. Message us on 

We will do our best to try to find out what it means. 

To help support Okwu ID Donate to Okwu ID

See the current list below:

Some names have not yet been defined/speculative (?) If you know the meaning let us know.




Abara   Spirit
Agughalam   Do not side-line/marginalise me
Aguta   Countless/To have many
Agwuegbo   The hardship is over
Aku   Wealth
Alaneme Ala (land)+ neme (is doing something) The land is active – may have other interpretations
Ama   Compound
Amadi Ama + di The compound remains
Amaike Ama + ike The compound is strong
Aniefuna Ani/Ala + efuna My land is not lost
Anokwuru Ano + Kwuru Four talk
Anosike Ano + si + ike Four is strong
Anuoru Anu + oru To stay well?
Asiegbu A + si + egbu  
Asika Asi + ka Asi (lie) = to lie a lot??
Asinobi A + si + na + obi From the heart
Atuche Atu + uche To think / to plan something in the mind
Atuegbu Atu + Egbu Speculation will not kill me
Atusiemobi   Take heart (my condolences) ?
Awachie ? He has come to replace ?
Awujo A wu ujo To be quiet ?
Azuka Azu + Ka “The back is above.” m. Azu ordinarily means “the back” but it
likewise refers to “the backer.” The family was poor, but since it had
wealthy relatives, it was assured of social status. This fact is expressed
in the name.

Azunna Azu + nna My fathers back
Chidozie Chi + dozie My spirit/God looks after
Chuke/Chike Chu(kwu) + ike God’s power
Chukwumerije Chukwu + mere + ije God makes (something) walk
Chukwunyelu Chukwu + nyelu/nyere God gives
Dozie   To repair – to look after – to make well
Dunga(maeze)   Sit here/stay here and know the king
Ebujo   To kill the wrong person ??
Edochie   To replace
Edolasim   Do not side-line/marginalise me
Edozie Edozie To repair – to look after – to make well – well ordered
Edoziem   My life has been ordered by God
Ehioma Ehi + oma Good cow 
Ejike from: Ejiro-ike-erne-ife-enu “We do not use power in doing things of the world.”
Ejikeme   We don’t do anything by force
Ejiofor Eji + Ofo The Ofo is the an object historically used to settle disputes and to bestow judgement. Eji = To hold
Ejofor Eji + Ofo The Ofo is the an object historically used to settle disputes and to bestow judgement. Eji = To hold
Ekezie Eke +ezi Good sharing
Emenike E me na ike “Do not with force.”
Eregbu ?  
Esiokwu Esi + okwu  
Ezejiofor Eze + ji + ofor The King holds the Ofor
Ezemonye   I fear no one
Ezenwa Eze + nwa The kings child
Ezeogba Eze + ogba  
Ibe (Abbr. of Ibeanaeweka)  “People continue to be angry too much.” ??
Ibeh/Ibe   Towns people/villagers
Ibekwe Ibe +  kwe Ibe (people) +  kwe (agree) = my people agree
Ibem Ibe m My people
Igweze   Igweze  the ‘staff’ the king holds  but happy to be corrected!
Iheme Ihe + me Things happen
Ihemelu Ihe + melu/mere Something happened
Ike   Strength
Ikeji I + ke + ji Yam harvest festival (To break/split yam)
Ikwuakolam   Let me not lack brothers/neighbours
Kalu (also Kamalu) The god of thunder
Kanu (also Kamanu) The god of thunder
Mbanefo   May the nation/community remember
Mborie Mba +  Orie ?
Metu   Touch
Mmeremikwu   To be higher/better
Monye Mu + onye Me and who
Ndukwe Ndu +  ekwe

Let life permit.

Nkwo   Nkwo market day (the last of the 4 days on the Igbo calendar)
Nnadi Nna + di It means “my God is alive” or “my father lives
Nnadozie Nna + dozie father looks after ?
Nnamdi Nna m di It means “my God is alive” or “my father lives
Nwabara Nwa +  abara (Child) of the spirit
Nwabeke Nwa +  beke Foreign Child
Nwachukwu Nwa + chukwu (Child) of the supreme God
Nwadibia Nwa + dibia (Child) of a native doctor
Nwadike Nwa + di + ike (Child) is of strong lineage / this person is strong/ Child warrior/hero
Nwaeze/Nweze Nwa + eze Child of the king
Nwaigbo Nwa +Igbo (Child) of the Igbo people
Nwaigwe/Nwigwe Nwa + Igwe (Child) of the king
Nwaike Nwa + ike (Child) of strong lineage
Nwakali also Nwakala/Nwakani A child dedicated to Ali/Ala/Ani (earth goddess)
Nwamadioha Nwa + amadioha Child/ people
Nwaneri Nwa + na + eri A child shall eat
Nwaogu/Nwogu Nwa + ogu  (Child) of war
Nwaokocha   Man of the people
Nwaokoha   Man of the people
Nwaokolo/Nwaokoro Nwa + okoro Child of a young man
Nwaokpara Nwa + okpara Man/Child of the first son
Nwogu Nwa + ogu The child of the ogu ?
Nwokeabia Nwoke + a’bia The man has come
Nwokoye Nwa + Okoro + Oye Son born on the Oye market day.  Similar to Ok(afor)  Child son born on the Oye market day
Nwosu Nwa + osu A child devoted to a specific god 
Obasi   God (name for God varies per region)
Obi   Heart
Obiajurumobi Obi + juru + m +obi I am consoled (with the arrival of this child)
Obiaka   No home is greater than another
Obiakaeze   A home is not greater than the king (or the person that owns it)
Obiakaraije   A stranger who has come to stay permanently in a new place (An immigrant)
Obiako Short for Obiakolam May I not lack a family/home
Obiakolam   May I not lack a family/home
Obiakpani Obi (chief/leader) + Akpani – shield Chief warrior ?
Obialom   My heart is now rested – no more in suspense
Obianagha Obi + agha He came to fight
Obilaso obi la so (happy)obi (heart) (courage) ?
Obimma Obi + mma  
Obinna Obi + nna “father’s heart”
Obioma Obi + oma  
Obiyo   Calm down – to calm the heart ?
Odigwe O + di + igwe  
Odinlo Odi + nlo It’s soft/easy
Ofoegbu Ofo + egbu The Ofo is the an object historically used to settle disputes and to bestow judgement. The Ofo staff can not kill
Ofor   The Ofo is the an object historically used to settle disputes and to bestow judgement.
Ogeri Ogu + eri War wont kill me?
Ogu   Similar to the ofo, ( Ogu-na-Ofo) an object historically used to settle disputes and to bestow judgement.
Oha   Oha (type of vegetable leaf) / society?
Ohuruogu Oha + ruo + ogu When people gather to go to war
Ojukwu   Palm kernel  (sometimes used to cleanse the body from enchanted food poisoning) could denote a strong person.
Okafor/Okoroafor/Okorafor Okoro + afor Child son born on the afo market day.
Okeke/Okoreke Okoro +  eke Child son born on the eke market day.
Okonkwo Born on Nkwo market day  
Okoro + Nkwo “Young man of nkwo-day.” f. Nkwo is the name of one of the four
days of the week. The name indicates that the boy was born on that day.
Okonma Okoro + nma “good man”
Okoro   the child of the freeborn man/ young man
Okoronkwo/Okonkwo Okoro +  nkwo Child son born on the nkwo market day.
Okoye/Okorie/Okolie Okoro + oye/orie/olie Child son born on the Oye market day.
Okwuosa Okwu + Olisa (osa) Okwu – word + Osa (Olisa) God [Anambra]
Omezi O + mezie To do well
Onwumere Onwu + mere Curse of death (situational – where excessive death is seen)
Onyeachu Onye + acho The person they are looking for (denotes something wanted/special that was found)
Onyeji Onye + eji The person who holds
Onyekwere Onye+  
Onyema   Who knows – usually who can predict the mind of God
Onyemachi Onye + mma A good person
Onyeme Onye + eme A person who does well
Onyeneme Onye + (na) + eme A person who does well
Onyenewere Onye –  nwere The person has
Onyewelu Onye + welu The person has
Onyewkwere Onye + kwere The person who agrees
Oparah/Okpara   First son
Osakwe Osa(Olisa)+ kwe If God permits [Anambra] – Osa – throat – if your greed(long throat) can agree.
Osondu Oso + Ndu To run for life (race for life)
Uche(Chukwu/Nna)   Thought of God or Father
Uchenna Uche + nna Fathers/Gods thought
Udochukwu Peace of God  
Uduike Udu (clay pot to fill water) + Ike (strength) It means fullness of power
Ugochukwu   God’s Eagle
Ugwunauwa Ugwu +  
Ugwushie Ugwu + shie To (overcome) rise above
Ukachukwu Uka + chukwu Church of God / Word of God [Anambra]
Ukah/Uka   Church/Talk[Anambra]
Ukegbu Uka + egbu ? Uka – church (place of worship) egbu – wont kill /Uka – variation of okwu = talk/discussion
Ukpabi   Name of a deity (Ibini Ukpabi – of Arochukwu)
Umeh   Strength (Could be regional?)
Umunakwe Umu + nna + kwe(re) My people/my siblings agree
Umunna Umu nna Children of the father (Siblings)/Family
Unigwe Uno(Ulo) + Igbo Heaven (House of the sky) [Anambra?]
Uzoegbu/Uxoebgulam Uzo + egbu + (m) The road till not kill me
Wabaranta Nwa + abara + nta Child of the spirit

Updated: 04/03/2021
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