Edited by Azizi Powell
Update June 10, 2018
This pancocojams posts provides a compilation of comments about Igbo names from people writing on nairaland.com [Nigerian] online discussion threads* about Igbo names.
The first section of this post quotes comments about the frequent use of the given names that include the name element "chi" and prefix or as a suffix, or otherwise include "chi".
The second section of this post quotes selected comments from those same discussion threads about the frequent use* of sixteen Igbo personal names.
The "frequently given" names [as indicated in these comments] are as follows:
(given in alphabetical order, and not in any ranking order)
Chizutere (including versions such as Zicora and Ziteora)
A few additional Igbo names are mentioned in some of the comments in that dicussion thread.
Information about the meanings of these names are given in the Addendum to this post, even if those meanings are included in the comments themselves.
*Note that I've used the term "frequent use" rather than "most popular". It seems to me that "popular" has a positive connotation, but some of the commenters citing the names that are cited in these comments aren't happy about how often those names are given to Igbo children.
The content of this post is presented for etymological, historical, and cultural purposes.
This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on African names and naming traditions.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
The comments quoted in this post are the opinions of the commenters on those featured discussion threads.
It appears that most of the people commenting on those discussion threads were Igbos living in Nigeria. At one commenter on one of these discussion threads identified herself as an English woman who is married to a Igbo man.
As an African American who may not be of any Igbo ancestry, who has never been to Nigeria, who has never knowingly been in direct or indirect contact with any Igbos, and who doesn't speak Igbo, I take no position about the general opinions about Igbo naming customs that are given in this post.
The specific names that these commenters cited may not actually have been frequently used the names for all Igbos in Nigeria. Furthermore, if these cited names were (or are still) frequently used by Igbos in Nigeria, they may have been (or may still be) most frequently used by certain age groups, and certain populations of Igbos.
PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S NOTE
These excerpts are divided into two sections: "General comments about "chi prefix names" and "Specific "frequently given" names".
The excerpts in each section are given in chronological order based on the publishing date of the first comment that is quoted from that particular source. These excerpts are numbered for referencing purposes only as are multiple comments from the same excerpt.
I believe that these discussions are still open for comments. As such, after this pancocojams post is published there may be additional comments on those discussion threads that mention the popularity of specific Igbo names.
GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT 'CHI" NAMES
Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by rubi(f): 3:32pm On Jul 15, 2008
"I love igbo names so much but I don't know why they always begin with chi
is it that we love God too much or what."
Re: Some Funky Igbo Names And Their Meaning by odumchi: 5:50am On Nov 30, 2013
..."To be honest, I'm tired of the "Chi craze". We need more diversity".
1. From http://www.nairaland.com/1902797/common-beautiful-names-igbo-tribe
Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by Afrocatalyst: 6:10am On Sep 16, 2014
"Do we have to put Chi in all the names. I need core igbo names pls for my unborn daughter."
2. Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by thunder74(m): 6:15am On Sep 16, 2014
Most of the names has "Chukwu" or Chi" before or after.
3. Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by basille(m): 8:08am On Sep 16, 2014
"All core and authentic igbo names has diminished over times and the little ones remaining is either been contaminated with the word"chukwu/chi" by over religious freaks or englishdized by jobless youth with no comprehension and appreciation of their culture.
4. From http://www.nairaland.com/1902797/common-beautiful-names-igbo-tribe/2
Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by jcmaiah(m): 6:51am On Sep 16, 2014
"My Igbo name remains the sweetest Igbo name of all time... Chihurumnanya, but since I am male I changed it to Chukwuhurumnanya. In ancient Igbos a mans name don't start with Chi, rather Chukwu. A womans name can end with both chukwu or chi but cant start with it.
Example... Chima=female, chukwuma=male.
again some names that are 99% used by female has male users too.
Example... Chioma=female, Chukwuoma=male.
Igbo name abuses are common in abia state and part of ebonyi. In abia u see a man bearing Chinyere or Chioma."
5. From http://www.nairaland.com/1902797/common-beautiful-names-igbo-tribe/10
Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by Nobody: 6:31pm On Sep 16, 2014
..."The 'Chi' prefix in igbo names is as old as the igbo race,just that it is rampantly used in contemporary times."
6. From http://www.nairaland.com/1902797/common-beautiful-names-igbo-tribe/11
Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by bigfrancis21(m): 1:10am On Sep 17, 2014
[begin quote] "thunder74: Most of the names has "Chukwu" or Chi" before or after." [end quote]
"It goes to explain to you the importance and significance of 'chi' in Igbo mythology. Before the introduction of christianity, Igbo people believed every person had a guardian spirit or chi that followed every individual around and helping that individual on his spiritual journey on earth. The concept of chi was so important that it reflected greatly in the names of Igbo people. After the introduction of christianity, the concept of 'chi' was modified to refer to God almighty(chi ukwu = Chukwu)."
7. From http://www.nairaland.com/1902797/common-beautiful-names-igbo-tribe/12
Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by Nobody: 4:35pm On Sep 23, 2014
"Everything chukwu chukwu"
8. Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by Vessi: 10:56am On Sep 24, 2014
"we love and respect God. Any problem you have with our culture?"
9. Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by nnenneigbo(f): 9:59am On Aug 08, 2016
[begin quote] TheArchangel:
"These are the new generation Igbo names with Christian undertones/ beliefs. A whole lot of the names has God as either the suffix or prefix." [end quote]
"I won't name my kids anything with chi, it's too common. I'll go with authentic names like adaobi, ike, adaora etc lol."
Pancocojams Editor's note: I believe that "chi" is pronounced the same as the English word "she".
"Chukwa" [chi + ukwa] is another element that is found in many Igbo names. "Chukwa" means "mighty God" and is the Igbo referent (and "Olisa") for the Supreme Deity.
Additional information about "chi" is given below, particularly in the quotes about the meaning of the name "Chioma".
ADDED January 23, 2018
1. "List Of Non-'chi' Igbo Names by ezeagu(m): 5:54pm On May 24, 2011
Some people may be interested in non Chi, Chineke, or Chukwu related Igbo names. Most Igbo names that are listed have 'chi' in them. List names that are rare and old in particular, but have a meaning for them as well please.
Achebe - Alachebem = 'Goddess Ala protect me'
Ezeagu (real person's name) = 'King of the leopards'
Iheonukara = 'word of mouth'"
2. Re: List Of Non-'chi' Igbo Names by ChinenyeN(m): 6:32pm On May 24, 2011
"This ought to be interesting. Let's see if people are even still capable of coming up with extensive lists of ancient/rare/old/peculiar non-'chi' names. . ."
Re: List Of Non-'chi' Igbo Names by RedCapChief(m): 11:37pm On Nov 21, 2016
I am in favor of giving the Chi and Chukwu names a rest. I think this should be encouraged so that sense of awe and deep respect which should be linked to anything that remotely has to do with our Creator is restored. Sometimes one shudders when one hears an angry parent calling their misbehaving child to order. Chibuzor, will you stop that nonsense! Nwachukwu shut up there! Although these types of names were given so as to honor or thank the Creator for the child, sometimes in everyday usage we etch away that sense that the names represent."...
This comment is written as it was found on that page.
COMMENTS ABOUT SPECIFIC FREQUENTLY GIVEN IGBO NAMES
1. From http://www.nairaland.com/11383/igbo-names-meanings/8
Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by SoWhat1: 11:26pm On Mar 15, 2008
"Over-used Igbo female names:
Over-use Igbo male names:
No Igbo family is complete without one Nkechi, one Nneka, an at least one Emeka. I went to a house warming an there were 12 females their named Nneka and 8 Nkechis, and it was not a large party. I am not saying these are not nice names with deep meanings, but I would like to see some variety and creativity. Just a thought."
2. From http://www.nairaland.com/11383/igbo-names-meanings/14
Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by asha80(m): 7:20am On Nov 09, 2011
[beginning quote] "Ileke-IdI:
Arinze is a Yoruba name, dear. Segun Arinze. Or is he mixed? [quote ended]
arinze is a popular igbo name and segun arinze is mixed.
Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by Crayola1: 7:21am On Nov 09, 2011
He chose that name because it was suggested by someone that having two ethnic names would make him more "mysterious" to viewers in films
I'm not even Nigerian and I knew this dear, please school up failing has never been cute [kiss emoji]
And yes he's has an Igbo mother and Yoruba father.
With the full name of Arinze being Arinzechukwu.
Class dismissed. Hit the books"
1. Re: Igbo Baby Names by LoveAlways(f): 3:49am On Dec 16, 2008
What is a nice Igbo baby name for a girl beginning with the letter "C"?
2. Re: Igbo Baby Names by Nobody: 2:30am On Dec 17, 2008
"I love th ename Chioma and Emeka.
I'll pro'lly name my angel Chioma. Lovely name"
3. Re: Igbo Baby Names by Nobody: 2:45am On Dec 17, 2008
Chioma is way too common. Chinasa is just fine.
Chika, chiamaka, chukwuka . . . beautiful names you can also consider"
4. Re: Igbo Baby Names by Nobody: 2:50am On Dec 17, 2008
It's common in naija not here
And why does it matter if it's common? It's the beauty of the name that counts"
Igbo Names by jovi: 9:37am On Feb 03, 2011
Pls examples of some uncommon igbo names?.(i.e no Emeka's, ngozi, e.t.c)
This comment implies that Emeka and Ngozi are common (i.e. frequently used) Igbo names.
"Modern Igbo Baby Names by Nnenwoke: 12:49am On Dec 29, 2012
So I've been at a loss for Igbo names that speak to me. Don't get me wrong, I love the meaning of our names but I want more than the typical Ugonna, Emeka etc. for our little guy. I've noticed a wave of funky baby girl names and I am hoping to compile a list of fun names for boys. If you know any, please, please share! Thanks everyone."
Re: Modern Igbo Baby Names by Nnenwoke: 6:54pm On Jan 02, 2013
"Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I actually do like Chimezie but again, know quite a few and dearfriend, you have some interesting recommendations. Will see if I can get my husband to buy into any of them. Other suggestions are still welcomed! Thanks again"
Re: Some Funky Igbo Names And Their Meaning by Nobody: 2:01pm On Dec 03, 2013
"Op, u compiled that thing without Mmesomma?!
most of the children born these days have the name."
Op= Original poster = the person who started the discussion
“u compiled that thing” = compiled lists of Igbo given names that don't include the element "chi"
1. Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by freshness2020: 6:07am On Sep 16, 2014
"Chinedu-God guides!(most popular male igbo names)
ChiAmaka..God is so beautiful. (one of most populous female igbo names)"
This spelling may be a typo. This name is given as "Chiamakaka" without the capital "A" on other online lists and pages that I've found.
2. Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by officialcharlz(m): 6:51pm On Sep 14, 2014
"Chizutere- God sent.
a favorite among the igbo community, other versions include zicora, ziteora. it is also unisex."
3. Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by kackar22: 7:20am On Sep 16, 2014
"Why is everybody catefully avoiding Emeka which remains the most widely answered name for the great igbos till today"
4. From http://www.nairaland.com/1902797/common-beautiful-names-igbo-tribe/5
Re: Common Beautiful Names From The Igbo Tribe by Vikthor(m): 8:56am On Sep 16, 2014
"Y'all keep forgetting the most popular one...."Uchenna"..
ADDENDUM- MEANINGS OF SPECIFIC NAMES MENTIONED IN THIS POST
[These names are given in alphabetical order]
From http://www.nairaland.com/11383/igbo-names-meanings/23 Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by bigfrancis21(m): 2:43am On Nov 10, 2013
"Arinze Chukwu means Thank God. This is how it is used in statements in Anambra Igbo - Arinze Chukwu na Emeka a furo m n'olu taata. Thank God Emeka did not see me at work today."
"Given Name CHIAMAKA
USAGE: Western African, Igbo
Meaning & History
Means "God is beautiful" in Igbo.
See All Relations · Show Family Tree
DIMINUTIVES: Amaka, Chi, Chichi (Igbo)"
[Added June 10, 2018]
In this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrAAEMFAG9E&t=141s>/a> entitled "Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addresses Harvard's Class of 2018", Chimananda said that her first name means "My personal spirit will never be broken”. [Read the entry for "Chioma" below for information about the meaning of the Igbo term "chi".
https://nameberry.com/babyname/Chimamanda gives this meaning for that name: The name Chimamanda is a girl's name of Nigerian [Igbo] origin meaning "my God will never fail"
"GENDER: Masculine & Feminine
USAGE: Western African, Igbo
Meaning & History
Means "God leads" in Igbo."
Here are some comments about the name "Chiona" from https://www.behindthename.com/name/chioma/comments
1. "'CHIOMA' literally means good God. But refering to the ancient meaning of 'Chi' as 'luck', 'destiny' or 'personal god' and 'oma' meaning 'good', 'Chioma' could also mean 'good luck', 'good destiny' or 'good personal god'."
― chomie3 8/9/2005
2. "Chioma can also be used for men, I know, I am one, and my name is Chioma."
― Chioma 10/29/2006
3. "The name 'Chioma' actually originated from the pre-colonial/Christian Igbo (Eastern Nigeria) society where it was believed that each individual has a personal 'god' that guides him or her. It was believed that some people have bad 'chis' (gods) for example people who die young or people who meet with some form of tragedy in their lifetime. Others were believed to have good 'chis' like those who seem to glide through life without misfortunes. The name 'Chioma' was given as a way of praying for 'good luck' so to say for the new born baby."
― chyike 12/6/2006
4. "I feel CHIOMA can still stand for Favor or Goodluck since it is an Igbo name and "Chi" can still stand for luck and "Oma" good which means a luck for good, in the other way "Good luck" and good luck also means favor."
― Anonymous User 2/22/2007
5. "The name Chioma means more than just "good God", which is the literal translation. Literarily, it means someone that is "lucky" or "favoured". It originates from an Igbo expression, which translates to "you have good God". When you bear "Chioma" as a name, it means you are "a carrier of a good God", implying that things go well with you wherever you go."
― ChyObasi 4/26/2011
(including versions of this name such as "Zicora" and "Ziteora")
"Chizutere – ‘god's envoy’. It is one of the most favorite names among Igbo. There are also such versions as Zicora and Ziteora. This name will be suitable both for boys and for girls."
"Given Name EMEKA
USAGE: Western African, Igbo
Expand Name Links
Meaning & History
Means "great deeds" in Igbo. It also functions as a short form of CHUKWUEMEKA.
See All Relations · Show Family Tree
VARIANT: Chuks (Igbo)"
An igbo (a nigerian language) name meaning "has done well". Usually begins with a prefix (Chi or Chukwu) like Chukwuemeka, Olisaemeka or Nnaemeka all meaning "God has done well".
He was named Emeka as an appriciation to God.*
by Anderson Mba July 11, 2006
*The commenter gave this sentence as an example of how this word is used. Notice the hashtags that the commenter gave of other [frequently used] Igbo names.
1. Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by Mzi(m): 6:45pm On Nov 02, 2006
I am a South African and cannot speak Igbo. What does the name Emeka actually mean? I am a great follower of His Excellency Chief EMEKA ANYAOKU. I have always thought that I would name my son after him. But I need to know the meaning of the name first. Regards, Mzi"
2. Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by kamsi(f): 12:00am On Nov 04, 2006
"Mzi, Emeka is a shortened word. The full name is chukwuemeka which basically means God's grace or more literally that God has done a wonderfull or marvelous work or deed."
"IJEOMA translates to "A SUCCESS WISH. WISHING THE PERSON A HAPPY/GOOD JOURNEY ON EARTH." n English. It is common with the Igbo tribe in Nigeria and primarily used by Unisexs"
"Mmesomachukwu- Mmeso, Oma, Mimi (God's goodness)"
1. Re: Igbo Names by Nobody: 3:50pm On Feb 09, 2011
"Mmesomachukwu (Meso for short)"
2. Re: Igbo Names by amumex: 4:55pm On Feb 09, 2011
"that is a good name. (Meso)"
3. Re: Igbo Names by Nobody: 5:09pm On Feb 09, 2011
"^^ Yep! My neice's name . . . my first daughter's getting it too!"
4. Re: Igbo Names by mafolayomi(f): 4:58pm On Feb 10, 2011
sound nice, whats d meaning? unisex?"
5. Re: Igbo Names by jovi: 5:06pm On Feb 10, 2011
"Means God's goodness or God shares his love/graces, sho get?"
This exchange shows how the name Mmesomachukwu changed from an uncommon name in 2011 (according to this commenter) to a frequently given name according to the commenter quoted in this pancocojams post's Frequently Given Names section, Excerpt #6 (date written Dec 03, 2013)
"Given Name NNEKA
USAGE: Western African, Igbo
Meaning & History
Means "my mother is supreme" in Igbo."
I've also found this name's meaning as "my mother is the greatest"
"Nneka is an Igbo given name, and can also be a short form of the Igbo name Nnemkadi.
This page also lists some notable people with the name "Nneka".
"Nkechi" is an Igbo name meaning "God's own". This name is primarily given to females
Here are some comments about this name from https://www.behindthename.com/name/nkechi/comments
1. "My daughter's name is Nkechinyere which means "What God has given". Nkechi is actually the short form of Nkechinyere so you know I love this name. The meaning of this name is not right on this website. It means "God's own". The meaning of Nkechi is different from the meaning of Nkechinyere. [noted -ed]"
― Adaobi 12/7/2004
"Nke - means 'belongs to'
Chi - God
Nkechi - God's property"
― chigba 1/3/2005
3. "The meaning given to the name Nkechi on your website is wrong. Please refer to the comment of Adaobi. She got it right. "Nkechi" on its own means "God's own". Nkechi can also be the shortened form of "Nkechinyere" meaning "What God has given, God's gift, Gift from God". Would you mind making the necessary updating? [noted-ed]"
― chika 3/29/2007
4. "Mostly such igbo names are given due to what the parent pass through before having a child, Nkechinyere or Nkechi in short are given when a parent conceive when they less expected, it is said to be God who gave or gift from God."
― Chinweikpe 10/26/2016
Ngozi translates to "Blessed" in English. It is common with the igbo tribe in Nigeria and primarily used by Females"
Click https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngozi for other meanings of the word "ngozi" in other African languages
"Obinna is an Igbo name, or sometimes surname. The name's origin is from the Igbo, located in south eastern Nigeria, and is usually male. Though people from other cultures may bear the name. The direct English translation is, "father's heart"."...
"obi"=heart + "nna"=father [in the Igbo language]
"Uche is a Nigerian name originating among the Igbo people, which can mean "intention", "will", "mind", or "sense". Variants can include Uchechukwu (which means "God's will" or "God's intention"), Ucheoma (which means "beautiful mind"), and Uchendu (which means "thinking/thought of life")."
"Meaning: The father's will
Uchenna translates to "The father's will" in English. It is common with the Igbo tribe in Nigeria and primarily used by Unisexs"
*"Uche" appears to be a short form of the name "Uchenna" and some other names.
I've listed "Uchenna" separately because it was specifically mentioned in the comment given above.
Also, from what I've read, if I'm not mistaken, Uchenna and Uche are most often given to females.
Re: Igbo Names & Their Meanings by chinani(f): 8:28pm On Jun 23, 2006
"Ugonna translates "Father's eagle".
Or if God is meant by "Father" than "God's eagle". (But then Ugochi translates to "God's eagle" spot on.)
I've also heard that the meaning of Ugochi is "Divine prestige". The divinity would be God's annointment persay & the prestige would be the eagle so you are the "feather in the cap".
So Ugonna could be "Divine prestige" or "Father's prestige".
Someone, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong. . ."
[Pancocojams Editor's Note:] ADDED with corrections on January 24, 2018
The commenter who listed "Uzor" as an over-used Igbo male name (in the "Frequently Used Names" section above, Excerpt #1, #1) , didn't give a long form of this name. I found this comment about the name "Chibuzor" after searching for the name that that commenter may have meant:
[This first comment was written in response to a commenter listing the name "Uzor" as a non-chi name.]
1. Re: List Of Non-'chi' Igbo Names by abagoro(m): 1:43am On May 25, 2011
"quote Uzor is a 'chi' name. end of quote
Uzor means road and has nothing to do with Chi.Chibuzor or Uzorchi is different."
2. List Of Non-'chi' Igbo Names by abagoro(m): 11:14pm On May 25, 2011
Abagworo methinks it shld be "Uzoroma",never seen anyone bearing just "uzor". end of quote
"So Orji Uzor Kalu is actually Uzoroma or Uzoma.Lol@ dat"
"Orji Uzor Kalu (born April 21, 1960) is the chairman of SLOK Holding and the Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers in Nigeria, who served as the governor of Abia State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999, to May 29, 2007."...
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