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“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 okwuidteam@gmail.com or okwuid@outlook.com 

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

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 sideline/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 alot??
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 condolances) ?
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 expresscd
in the name.


LEARN IGBO – Basic commands – #7


Expressing basic commands in Igbo







Nyé m ākā gi. Give me your hand


Gwà m áhà (/áfà) gí. Tell me your name


Gbá yā nkịtị. Pay him/her no attention (Ignore him/her)


Kwé m n’ākā. Shake my hand


Sí ébé à. Go/come this way.


Hụ (/F) nà íhé(/ife) níīlē (/níīnē) gàrà nkè ọmá. See to it that everything goes well


Continue reading “LEARN IGBO – Basic commands – #7”