Monday, October 2, 2017

Yoruba (Nigerian) Names With Ola Prefix Or Suffix (Adapted From a 2013 Discussion Thread)

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Latest revision October 4, 2017]

This pancocojams post is Part II of a two part series about the name "Ola" or the element (prefix or suffix "ola".

This post also presents a partial list of Yoruba names that include the element (prefix or suffix) "ola" This list is from a much longer compilation of Yoruba names that was published on a discussion thread.

Selected comments from that discussion thread are also included in this pancocojams post along with an

As a preface to that list, I'm quoting an excerpt about names from a book by Yoruba scholar and musicologist Fela Sowande. A longer excerpt from that book's chapter on names is also included in this post.

Click for Part I of this pancocojams series.

Part I provides information and comments about various origins and meanings for the female name "Ola". This post also includes examples of female names which are formed by combining "Ola" with another name such as the American female name "Ola Mae", or with a prefix or a suffix such as the Latin (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) female name "Fabiola", or the Yoruba name "Olatunji".

The discussion thread on Yoruba names that is quoted in this post is fifteen pages long, extending from November 2013 to April 2016. I'm not a member of that discussion forum, and am taking the liberty of publishing an excerpt of that list and a few selected comments from that discussion thread on this pancocojams post for etymological and cultural purposes.

All content remains with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

My interest in the name "Ola" was sparked by researching Puerto Rican names and reading that the United States Census documents that in 2010 the name "Fabiola" was the 18th most popular name given to baby girls in Puerto Rico. Because the name "Fabiola" reminded me of the large number of Yoruba names that include the element "ola" (meaning "wealth" or "honor"), I was curious whether "Fabiola" was a Yoruba name. As indicated in an excerpt given in Part I of this pancocojams series, "Fabiola" is a Latin name. However, that name demonstrates how similarly spelled or pronounced names may have different origins and meanings depending on what language they are from.

Here's an excerpt from the "Yoruba Names And Their Meanings" chapter in Fela Sowande's 1966 book The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child (Ibadan: Ibadan University, 1966).
"Page 41
Yoruba names are therefore much more than mere identification tags, much more than mere "luggage labels"; each has a reason (a) for being just what it is; and (b) for being given to a particular individual. Yoruba names embody circumstances of birth, history, family, religion, or some other equally pertinent facts relevant to that particular individual bearing the name. Yoruba names are, in fact, in most cases contractions of whole sentences...

Normally, however, Yoruba names are contracted sentences. Abimbola is short for "A bi mi ba ola" or "I was born in the midst of honor" (or prestige, or renown). This is a very useful method for deriving the meaning of Yoruba names, and words, for most Yoruba words respond to the same treatment. This is possible, partly on account of the monosyllabic base on which Yoruba language rests. Compound words are, in the vast majority of cases, but single words joined together to make longer ones.

There is, of course, what we may call "the intermediate" type of Yoruba name, in which the name is neither a contraction of a whole phrase or sentence, like "Atolye", nor is it a whole sentinece [sic] in itself, like "Bo lu o te," but is 'in-between'-usually a complete but inconclusive phrase like "Abayomi" i. e. "My vilifiers would have rejoiced at my misfortune," or "I would have been held up for ridicule," each requiring an "if" phrase which has been left unexpressed....

Page 42
Therefore, it is proper and valid to derive the meanings of Yoruba words-certainly of Yoruba proper names-by amplifying them into their original components, thus getting at the meaning of the word, or name, by summation of the meanings of its individual components. This process we might term "derivation through amplification." It is a valid process, but within certain limits only, and with the added proviso that, in amplifying words into their original components, we do not play about with tonal inflections, without clear and justifiable reasons.

But for the moment we are primarily concerned with the distinctive character of Yoruba names. By comparison, European names like Jack, Mary, Joan, Edward, etcetera, seem tame. A boy named Edward is not thereby and therefore identified with Edward the Black Prince of history; neither does a Joan automatically consider herself in some way related to the famous Joan of Arc, or to any other historically famous Joan. In Yorubaland, on the contrary, the name itself tell us so many things about that thing or person bearing that name....

Page 43
It is therefore one of the basic characteristics of Yoruba names that they are meaningful in a precise and specific way, and that they contain, virtually, the essence of the nature or being of the thing named, be it a town, or a person, a leaf, an animal, a tree, or even man-made objects like drums, baskets, water-pots, etcetera."...
Click for a 2014 pancocojams post which presents the complete chapter on Yoruba names from that book by Fela Sowande.

Yoruba names can be used as given names (first or middle name). Yoruba names can also be surnames (family names; last names), or titles.

"Ola" is a Yoruba name element which now* appears to most often be given the meaning "wealth", but whose traditional meaning** is "honor (esteem)" or "wealth".

*based on the name meanings and comments given in the 2013-2016 discussion thread that is excerpted in this post.

**based on the information presented in the chapter about names in Fela Sowande's book The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child

Yoruba word elements such as "ola" can be used as either a prefix or a suffix.

From what I've read, a number of Yoruba names are unisex, meaning they can be given to males or to females.

A Yoruba woman who I met decades ago in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suggested that I use the vowel sounds for Spanish for Yoruba pronunciation (for instance "a"= "ah", "e"= "a", "i"="e", "o"=oh, "u"=oo". This is probably not the way that Yoruba vowels are always pronounced.

Most of the Yoruba names that are found online are given without the accent mark or accent marks that they have in Yoruba writing. I assume that those marks determine how those names are pronounced.

I'm not sure if there is a standard rule for which syllable in Yoruba words/names is usually emphasized. Although it probably isn't correct, I've gotten into the habit of applying the same rule for pronouncing Yoruba (and other non-English languages) that Americans (people in the United States) use for most "English" words, including names: Put the emphasis on the second to the last syllable. Using that rule, the name "Olatunji" is pronounced "oh-lah-TOON-jee.", but that may not be the way that Yoruba name is supposed to be pronounced.

I'd love to know how these words are really pronounced by Yorubas.


The 1959 vinyl record Drums Of Passion by Yoruba drummer, educator, social activist, and recording artist Babatunde* Olatunji (April 7, 1927 – April 6, 2003) introduced many Americans to Nigerian music.

*"Babatunde" = "baba" (father) + "tunde" = "come again" or "returned"

"Babatunde" is a reincarnation name that I assume is usually just given to males. "Olatunji" is also a Yoruba reincarnation name.

Pancocojams Editor: My notes are given in italics.


Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Mintayo(m): 8:31pm On Nov 05, 2013



Adaramola; one who complements wealth with beauty
Abiola/ Abimbola/Abisola; one born into wealth
Adebola; the crown meets with wealth
Adebukola; the crown has added to wealth
Adedamola; the crown is mixed with wealth
Adedaramola; the crown associates with (complements) wealth well
Adegbola; the crown carries wealth
Adenola; the crown owns wealth
Adeola; crown of wealth
Aderinsola; the crown walks into wealth
Adesola; the crown makes wealth
Adetola; the crown is the worth of wealth
Agboola; the stage/platform of wealth
Aibinuola; one who is not antagonistic of wealth
Akinola; valor of wealth
Aralola; family (relations) is wealth
Ayantola; drumming is the worth of wealth
Ayoola; the joy of wealth
Ayotola; joy is the worth of wealth

Babalola; father is wealth
Babasola; father makes wealth
Babatola; father is the worth of wealth

There are no names that begin with "c" in this list.

Durodola; wait for wealth

Ebudola; insults have become wealth/honor
Emiola; the spirit of wealth
Eniola; person of wealth
Ereola; the benefit/advantage of wealth
Eyitola; this (one) is the worth of wealth

Fehintiola; rest/relax on wealth

There are no names in this list that begin with “g” and have the element “ola” and there are no names in this list that begin with "h".

Ibilola; childbirth is wealth
Ibisola; childbirth makes wealth
Ipadeola; assembly of wealth
Iretiola; hope/anticipation of wealth
Iyiola; the prestige of wealth

Jejeolaoluwa; the wealth of God is gentle/restful
Jenrola; let me find wealth
Jokotola; sit with wealth

Kofoworola;he does not buy wealth with money
Koyinsola; put honey into wealth i.e. experience sweet wealth

Makanjuola; do not be in a hurry to get wealthy
Meraola; I did not buy wealth
Mofeyisola; I use this (one) as wealth
Mogbadunola; I enjoy wealth
Mojirola; I awoke to see wealth
Mojisola; I awoke to wealth
Monilola; I have a share in wealth
Mopelola; I am complete in wealth
Morohunfola; I bestow something on wealth
Morolayo; I have found wealth to rejoice over

There are no names in this list that begin with "n".

Obasola; the king makes wealth
Okikiola; fame of wealth
Ola; means wealth.
Olabamidele; wealth accompanies me home
Olabamiji/Olabanji; wealth wakes with me
Olabanwo; wealth looks after (this) for me
Olabimtan; wealth beget me complete
Olabisi; wealth has given birth to more
Olabode; wealth has arrived
Olabosipo; wealth returns to its position
Olabukunola; wealth adds fully to wealth
Oladahunsi; wealth responds to (me)
Oladapo; wealth associates/affiliates
Oladayo; wealth becomes joy
Oladega; wealth arrives the palace
Oladeinde/Olasehinde; wealth has returned
Oladeji/Oladimeji; wealth has becomes two/double
Oladejo; wealth becomes eight
Oladele; wealth has come home
Oladepo; wealth arrives its rightful position
Oladiji; wealth becomes a refuge
Oladipo/ Oladipupo; wealth has become plenty
Oladiran; wealth becomes a heritage
Oladitan; wealth becomes a story
Oladokun; wealth becomes (as wide as) the sea
Oladosu;wealth becomes month
Oladotun; wealth has become renewed
Oladunjoye; wealth is sweeter than titles
Oladunni; wealth is sweet to have
Oladurotoye; wealth stays with titles
Olafimihan; wealth shows me off
Olagoke; wealth ascends a hill
Olagunjoye; wealth is superior to titles
Olagunte; wealth ascends the throne
Olaide; wealth turns to come
Olaitan; wealth is inexhaustible
Olaiya; wealth of a mother
Olajide; wealth awakes to come
Olajire; wealth awakes to goodness
Olajobi/Olajumobi; wealth unites to give birth to
Olajumoke; wealth unites to pamper
Olakanmi; wealth has touched me/I am entitled to wealth
Olakitan; wealth does not finish
Olalekan; wealth has increased by one
Olalere; wealth has benefits
Olamakinde; wealth has brought the warrior
Olamide; my wealth has come
Olamiji; my wealth has awoken
Olanifesi; wealth has love for me
Olanipekun; wealth is endless
Olaniyan; wealth has its pride
Olaniyi; wealth is honorable
Olanlesi; wealth is increasing
Olanrele; wealth is going home
Olanrewaju; wealth is moving forward
Olansile; wealth opens a house
Olaoluwa; wealth of /from God
Olaosebikan; wealth does dwell exclusively in one place
Olaoti; wealth does not fade
Olaoye; wealth of the titled one
Olapademi; wealth meets with me
Olapeju; wealth is full of value
Olapitan; wealth tells a story
Olasimbo; wealth escorts me
Olasubomi; wealth has overwhelmed me.
Olasunmbo; wealth moves closer to me
Olasunkanmi; wealth moves nearer to touch me* [A commenter on page 4 of this discussion gave this corrected meaning: “wealth is closer to me”]
Olasupo; wealth clusters together
Olatelemi; wealth follows me
Olatemina; I also deserve wealth
Olateju; wealth is abundant
Olatidoye; wealth has become a title
Olatokunbo; wealth from across the sea
Olatoun; wealth is worth strife
Olatunbosun; wealth has once more shifted (forward)
Olatunji; wealth has been revived
Olawale; wealth come home
Olawuwo; wealth is heavy
Olayemi; wealth befits me
Olayikanmi; wealth turned to touch me
Olayiwola; wealth twists into wealth
Olayinka; wealth surrounds me
Olayonu; wealth has burdens
Ololade; wealthy person has arrive
Oluwabusola; God adds to wealth
Oluwadamilola ; God makes me wealthy
Oludolamu; God is the custodian of wealth
Olufolake; God takes care of this (one) with wealth
Olufolasade; God has uses wealth as a crown
Oluwafoyinsolami; God adds honey to my wealth
Olufunmilola; God gives me wealth
Olukolade; God brings wealth
Olusola; God makes wealth
Olutomilola; God is enough wealth for me
Omojola; child is greater than wealth
Omolola; children are wealth
Omopariola; children are the completion are wealth
Omosunsola; child moves nearer to wealth
Omotola/Omotolani; a child is as worthy as wealth
Omowafola; child is deatined [typo correction destined] for wealth
Òrédola; friendship becomes wealth
Oridola; head has become wealth
Oriola; head of wealth
Oyebola; title meets with wealth
Oyenola; title has wealth
Oyindamola; honey is mixed into wealth
Oyindasola; honey pours into wealth
Oyinkansola; honey drips into wealth

Popoola; highway of wealth

There are no names given in this list that begin with "q" or "r".

Sijuwola; look in the direction of wealth

Tewogbola; stretch out your hands to receive wealth
Titilola; endless wealth
Towobola; dip your hand into wealth

There are no names in this list that begin with "u" or v.

Wuraola; gold of wealth

There are no names in this list that begin with "y" and contain the element “ola”.

ps:edited,sorry if you name is not included.

I clicked that link and couldn't see any pages since I'm not on facebook.

**** is an online discussion thread for (mostly) people from Nigeria ("Naira" is a colloquial way of saying "Nigeria". However, the colloquial term "naija" appears to be used more often, at least online.)

Here are a few selected comments from that fifteen page discussion thread (Note that some of these comments refer to the general subject of Yoruba name meanings.) I've numbered these comments for referencing purposes only:

"Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by isalegan2: 3:07pm On Nov 09, 2013
Passing Shot: Not attempting to discredit your effort but you've given literary meanings to many of the names. It doesn't work like that in many cases. For instance, "Yewande" cannot be literally translated to "mother looked for me". I'm sure you know it doesn't really mean that. It's actually a name given to a girl whose grand mother just passed away shortly before her birth. Yorubas use it more as a symbol and remembrance of the event rather than anything else.

Correct. Yewande means the same as Yetunde and Iyabo.

There are Yoruba names that have different spellings but actually mean the same thing. E.g., (Omo)Taiwo, Taiye(wo).

Nice thread."

2. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by tpia5: 3:09pm On Nov 09, 2013
..."the list is not a comprehensive one, just a compilation from the op and his or her crew."
"op" = original (first) poster (commenter)

3. Re: List Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by isalegan2: 3:17pm On Nov 09, 2013
..."The OP didn't indicate that he/she is responsible for compiling the list. A Facebook page is credited."

Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Mintayo(m): 3:31pm On Nov 09, 2013
"Guys pls this thread was not created to cause Tribal wars o,we are all ONE,i just want ppl to see the beauty in naming their children indigenous names instead of the usual 'English' names..."

5. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by PAGAN9JA(m): 3:34pm On Nov 09, 2013

This discussion thread included heated comments such as this one about the lack of Yoruba names with a prefix or suffix of a Yoruba orisa (also given as "orishas", meaning gods/goddesses). However, note that this list does include examples of given names/surnames that include the Yoruba names for the Supreme God [Olorun; Oluwa].

Click for a pancocojams post on examples of Yoruba given names/surnames that include the prefix "Ogun". Check "Yoruba names with orisa prefix and suffix" tag for other posts like this that I'll publish on pancocojams soon.

Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by kola639: 3:32pm On Nov 09, 2013
lol my name 'KOLA' or in full 'KOLAWOLE' is not on the list.

But i dont worry cos my name is still d most popular Yoruba name. Dont argue wit me. Just go thru ur textbooks, movies, novels, story books etc. Kudos to d person who copied & pasted these names!"
"Kolawole translates to "Wealth has entered" in English. It is common with the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and primarily used by Unisexs"

Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by richy1473(m): 5:17pm On Nov 09, 2013
..."You better thank your STAR(or 33),my name is there....but how come the most popular name in YORUBALAND(virtually every family has someone bearing the name); KOLA is not there?"

8. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by madan(f): 5:58pm On Nov 09, 2013
"You omitted my name now, haba! Well, my name is Oluwagbemisola, meaning God put me into wealth....."

9. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by tinuolababy(f): 6:04pm On Nov 09, 2013
"Tinuola -within wealth"

10. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by MrBravo(m): 6:10pm On Nov 09, 2013
"My surname is Oladiti.....still searching for the meaning"

11. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Afolabs101: 6:26pm On Nov 09, 2013
"Afolabi = A fi ola bi = we used wealth to born literally, however my dad says it is loosely translated to "a child with honour is born"

12. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by tbag007(m): 6:39pm On Nov 09, 2013
"Hey guy, you did not include olataka, olaraka, olatikakaragbada.( These are names given to children that are born witch)".[correction of typo “rich”]

Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Nobody: 8:43pm On Nov 09, 2013
"There's no way d op can include all names especially surnames ( traditional names). He is just trying to tell us Yoruba names have sensible meanings and cultural back ground..
Thanks for mentioning my surname anyway."

"Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Bomi(m): 11:13pm On Nov 09, 2013
The compiler tried, but he should have do some research on the meaning of those Yoruba names. As some of those name does not mean the same as the literary interpretations."

Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by rrhostomy(m): 5:02pm On Nov 10, 2013
"I no see my name, Olarotimi meaning Wealth stays with me. #okbye"

"Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by ladionline: 11:34am On Nov 11, 2013
gracy83: Okunola------- rope of wealth
"chord [typo correction: "cord"] of wealth,
sea of wealth. possibilities."

"Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Mintayo(m): 5:11pm On Jan 03, 2015
This list don't reveal the gender of names. Find here a complete list of Yoruba names with meaning and numerology- gender wise.

Some names are not limited by gender. So attaching gender is not so relevant"

"Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by lindapace28: 7:00pm On Jul 31, 2015
By custom, Yoruba children are named in a ceremony that takes place 7 days after their birth. The names of the Yoruba children are traditionally found by divination performed by a group of Babalawo, traditional Ifa priests, but in recent times names can also come from those of ranking members of the family, including the father, mother, grandparents, or next of kin. Both the mother and father and other next of kin can give their own favorite names to the child. Yoruba Baby names often come from the grandparents and great grandparents of the child to be named."

19. "Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by toychemmy(f): 10:58am On Sep 07, 2015
Oladiti is the short form of Oladitiwa....... Which is wealth has become ours."

20. Re: Lists Of Yoruba Names And Their English Meaning. by Oluwa2mininu(f): 9:49pm On Apr 28, 2016
"Oluwafisolami Meaning God has add to my wealth
Omotola/Omotolani; a child is as worthy as wealth.

A child cant be comparable with wealth, he/she is more than worthy of wealth. People will go at length and spend countless sums of money to conceive a child. That is why, the name, Akanimo (Akaninyene as well) means "Greater than wealth" It means the bearer of the name, "Akanimo" (Akaninyene inclusive) is greater than wealth. And I LIKE that."

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  1. These ola prefix or suffix Yoruba names and other Yoruba names provide information about traditional Yoruba culture 's philosophy regarding and attitude about wealth, God, parents, children, misfortune, good times etc.

    And like life itself, the statements about these subjects in different names are contradictory.

  2. ola is honour not wealth.The Yoruba of old lay more emphasis on honour than wealth that is why ola occurs more in Yoruba name wealth is oola. so it is highly erroneous to translate ola as wealth. thanks

    1. Thanks for your comment ok evans.

      I appreciate it.

      Note that "Yoruba Names And Their Meanings" chapter in Fela Sowande's 1966 book The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child (Ibadan: Ibadan University, 1966) which is quoted above gives "honor" as the meaning for the Yoruba element "ola".

      However, judging from the nairaland quotes given in this post and examples I have read elsehwere, it appears that a number contemporary Yorubas gives "wealth" as the meaning of names with the "ola" element even though that interpretation is wrong.

      Again, I appreciate the correction.

      One love!