Edited by Azizi Powell
This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on African names and naming traditions.
This post provides a sample listing of Igbo names from Nigeria, West Africa that reference God. That compilation is preceded by brief notes about the Igbo language and an overview of traditional Igbo beliefs about God.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
INFORMATION ABOUT IGBO LANGUAGE
..."Igbo is one of the official languages of Nigeria. It is spoken in the Southern Delta states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo, as well as in the northeast of the Delta state and in the southeast of the Rivers state. In the states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo, Igbo is the main language of trade and commerce. It is used in mass media communication such as radio and television in the southern Delta region.
Although Igbo is taught at all levels in eastern Nigerian schools, English remains the principal literary language of the country while [Igbo] remains a spoken and colloquial language. Reading and writing in Igbo is not very widespread. In many urban areas, Igbo is often replaced by Nigerian Pidgin English. Igbo speakers are typically bilingual in English...
The sound inventory of Standard Igbo consists of eight vowels, thirty consonants, and two tones, depending somewhat on the analysis. Igbo has only two syllable types: consonant + vowel (the most common syllable type), vowel or syllabic nasal. There are no consonant clusters and no syllable-final consonants."...
"Igbo ... is the principal native language of the Igbo people, an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. There are approximately 24 million speakers, who live mostly in Nigeria and are primarily of Igbo descent. Igbo is written in the Latin script, which was introduced by British colonialists. There are over 20 Igbo dialects...
Igbo is also a recognised minority language of Equatorial Guinea....
Igbo is a tonal language with two distinctive tones, high and low....An example is ákwá "cry", àkwà "bed", àkwá "egg", and ákwà "cloth". As tone is not normally written, these all appear as ⟨akwa⟩ in print....
INFORMATION ABOUT TRADITIONAL IGBO RELIGION
"Chukwu is the supreme being of the Igbo religion. In the Igbo pantheon, Chukwu is the source of all other Igbo deities, and is responsible for assigning them their different tasks. The Igbo people believe that all things come from Chukwu, who brings the rains necessary for plants to grow and controls everything on earth and the spiritual world. They believe Chukwu to be an infinitely powerful, undefinable, supreme deity encompassing everything in space and space itself.
Linguistic studies suggest that the name "Chukwu" or "Chukouuee" is a portmanteau of the Igbo words "Chi" ("spiritual being") and "Ukwu" ("great in size").
Conception of Chukwu
According to the Igbo people from the south-eastern region of Nigeria, Chineke is the creator of the world and everything good in it along with rain, trees, and other plants. Chukwu is a supreme God represented by the sun. The ancient God is not humanized in Igbo tradition belief. Because the Igbo deities Amadioha and Ikenga are masculine, Chukwu is assumed to be male.
Many Igbo Christians refer to the Christian God as Chukwu as well. The Igbo believe it is impossible for humans to conceive of the unlimited power of Chukwu. Many Igbo dialects refer to God by names such as "Chukwu", "Chiokike", or "Obasi."."...
LIST OF IGBO NAMES THAT REFER TO GOD
Pancocojams Editor Notes:
This list is culled from two sources- Part I: Names From Africa: Their Origin, Meaning, And Pronunciation by Ogonna Chuks-orji, edited and with a commentary by Keith E. Baird (Johnson Publishing Company, 1972) and Part II: http://www.behindthename.com/names/usage/igbo
A few of the names in Part I are also given in Part II.
Examples in Part I demonstrate how those Igbo names are pronounced, and, by extension, may provide some guidance regarding the pronunciation of the names given in Part II.
Notice that multiple names in this list begin or end with "chi" or "chukwu" or contain one of those elements in the middle. These elements refer to God.
This compilation doesn't claim to be a complete listing of Igbo names that refer to God. Additions to this list are welcome.
From Names From Africa: Their Origin, Meaning, And Pronunciation by Ogonna Chuks-orji, edited and with a commentary by Keith E. Baird (Johnson Publishing Company, 1972)
(Note: This book uses the outdated term "Ibo".)
Chinue (CHEEN-weh) God's own blessing, [female]
Chijoke (CHEE-jee-oh-keh), God gives talent, [male]
Chike (CHEE-keh), power of God [male]
Chinelo (CHEE-neh-loh), thought of God, [male]
Chinua (CHEE-no-ah), God's own blessing, [male]
Chioke (CHEE-oh-keh), gift of God, [male]
Chukwuweneka (choo-kwoo-eh-NEH-kah). God has dealt kindly with us, [male]*
Okechuku (oh-keh-CHOO-koo), God's gift, [male]
Onuwachi (oh-noo-WAH-chee), God's world, [male]
Onyebuchi (on-yeh-BOO-chee, (who is God), [male]
Onyemachi (on-yeh-MAH-chi), who knows God's will, [male]
Here's an excerpt pertaining to one of these names from that book's commentary section:
"Africans are very religious; thus a family may through the name given to a child be saying that they consider the child's coming as a mark of divine favor, a blessing duly acknowledged in a boy's name such as Chukwueneka, "God has dealt kindly with us" (Ibo, Nigeria), or in the girls name Sibongile, which simply says "Thanks" (Ndebele, Zimbabwe)".
Akachi (the hand of God), male & female
Akuchi (wealth from God), male & female
Amarachi (God's grace), female
Chi (god, spiritual being" in Igbo, referring to the personal spiritual guardian that each person is believed to have. Christian Igbo people use it as a name for the personal Christian god. This can also be a short form of the many Igbo names that begin with this element)), male & female
Chiamaka (God is beautiful), female
Chibueze, (God is the king), male & female
Chibuike (God is strength), male & female
Chibuzo (God leads the way), male & female
Chichi (Diminutive of Igbo names beginning with the element Chi meaning "God"), female
Chidi (God exists; It is also a short form of Igbo names beginning with Chidi), male and female
Chidiebere (God is merciful), male & female
Chidiebube (God is glorious), male & female
Chidiegwu (God is wonderful), male & female
Chidike (God is strong), male
Chidimma (God is good), female
Chidubem (guided by God), male
Chiemeka (God has performed great deeds), male
Chijindum (God holds my life), male & female
Chika (God is the greatest), female
Chike (God's power), male & female
Chikelu (variant of Chikere)
Chikere (God created), male & female
Chima (God knows), male
Chinasa (God answers), female & male
Chinedu (God leads), male & female
Chinonso (God is nearby), male & female
Chinwe (God owns; It is also a short form of Igbo names beginning with Chinwe), male & female
Chinweike (God owns power), male & female
Chinwendu (God owns life), male & female
Chinweuba (God owns wealth), male & female
Chinyelu (variant of Chinyere), female
Chinyere (God gave), female
Chioma (good God), female & male
Chizoba (God protect us), male & female
Chuks (Diminutive of Igbo names beginning with the element Chukwu meaning "God"), male
Chukwudi (Variant of Chidi, using Chukwu as the first element, which is the extended form of Chi meaning "God"), male
Chukwuemeka (God has done something great), male
Chukwuma (Variant of Chima, using Chukwu as the first element, which is the extended form of Chi meaning "God"), male
Ekenedilichukwu (all praise to God), male & female
Nkechi (short form of Nkechinyere), female
Nkechinyere ("what God has given" or "gift of God"), female
Ogechi (Short form of Ogechukwukama), female
Ogechukwukama (God's time is the best), female
Oluchi (God's work), male & female
Onyeka (short form of Onyekachi), female & male
Onyekachi (who is greater than God?), famle & male
Onyekachukwu (Variant of Onyekachi, using Chukwu as the last element, which is the extended form of Chi meaning "God", male & female
Uzochi (God's way), male
W, X, Y, Z
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