Ethiopian Names | 100+ Special Names For Boys & Girls with Meanings

Ethiopian names for boys and girls

February 24, 2022

Even though most Ethiopian names are given at birth, some parents name their children after birth. This can be because they want to take their time naming their baby, seeing as it’s such a hard task naming a child. In Ethiopia, most names are given considering

  • Religion,
  • Ethnicity
  • The circumstance at the time of birth, and
  • The uniqueness of the name. 

Before diving into specific names and their meanings, let’s see how Ethiopian Naming conventions are different from the Western world.

How it is Different From Western Naming Conventions

Ethiopian naming conventions generally differ from the western world. Unlike the westerns that use middle names, the Ethiopian naming convention is very different. Ethiopia’s naming format contains the individual’s name, their father’s name, their grandfather’s name then they add on their great grandfather, and so on as they go. But typically, when asked their name, they would say their given name and add their father’s name. 

Common Ethiopian Names

20 Common Ethiopian Names For Male

  1. Kaleb – refers to biblical figure Cain who was the brother of Abel and son of Adam Yohannes – means lord is gracious 
  2. Michael – refers to the archangel Michael who was often depicted as a warrior and leader of the heavenly hosts
  3. Abebe – means flower or blossom 
  4. Samuel – the heard by God 
  5. Robel – the son of Jacob 
  6. Abenezer – means stone of help 
  7. Surafel – the guardian and protector of the virgin Mary 
  8. Binyam – son of my right hand or my favorite son 
  9. Dagim – means again 
  10. Eskinder – means Alexander (Mankind defender)
  11. Kidus – blessed
  12. Netsanet – Freedom
  13. Yafet – Handsome boy
  14. Zelalem – Eternal
  15. Bereket – Gift of God
  16. Daniel – God is my judge
  17. Dawit – beloved
  18. Bemnet – Trust
  19. Abel – One of the suns of Adam (Biblical origin)
  20. Bisrat – Telling a good news

20 Common Ethiopian Names For Female

  1. Selam – means peace 
  2. Beza – means medicine from heaven 
  3. Mahlet – chanting prayer to praise God 
  4. Kalkidan – promise 
  5. Meklit – talent 
  6. Samrawit – means unity or she who unifies Ethiopia 
  7. Nardos – perfume; spikenard 
  8. Bemnet – by faith 
  9. Eden – a place where Adam and Eve lived after they were created by God
  10. Hiwot – means life 
  11. Fiker – Love
  12. Desta – Happy
  13. Gelila – Beauty
  14. Inku – Jewelry
  15. Kidest – Blessed
  16. Eden – Garden of Eden
  17. Mihret – Mercy
  18. Kokeb – star
  19. Amira – Princes
  20. Edel – luck

Unique Ethiopian Names

Parents of the modern world seem to be tired of the repetitive names going around for centuries. Due to many reasons, kids have named terms that are unique and unheard of these days. 

Some unique Names 

For Boys: 

  • Sudes – openness
  • Novel – means new or unheard of 
  • Marsilas – Mar is the Amharic word for honey and Silas means taste. So Marsalis translated to tasting honey.

For Girls: 

  • Eveana – means the days before holidays. Typically a child named Eveana is born on the eve of some holiday 
  • Amarawit – means from the origins of the Amhara ethnic group 

Ethiopian Names (Based on Religion)

Ethiopia is a diverse country with multiple inclusive religions, but most of the population is either Orthodox or Muslim. Since many Ethiopians have a strong sense of religion, they name their children biblical names. 

Orthodox Names 

Common Orthodox names would be: 

For Male: 

  • Amanuel – means God is with us 
  • Nahom – is a place mentioned in the bible as one of the stops on the Old World segment of Lehi’s journey. This location is referred to as the place where Ishmael is laid to rest. Abel – son of Adam and Eve was killed by his brother because he was jealous. Kidus – means holy 

For Female: 

  • Bethlehem – was the site of the Nativity of Jesus Christ 
  • Eden – the garden where Adam and Eve first lived 
  • Hanna – one of the wives of Elkanah the Levite and the mother of Samuel Samrawit – the samrawi girl who gives water for God in the bible

Muslim Names 

Common Muslim names would be: 

For Male: 

  • Mohammed – messenger of God or prophet 
  • Ahmed – highly praised or one who constantly thank God 
  • Abdi – my servant or servant of Yahweh 
  • Nuredin – the light of the deen or religion 

For Female: 

  • Hannan – compassionate and kind 
  • Aida – returner, a visitor of the sick 
  • Nadia – means tender and delicate 
  • Hayat – means life 

Ethiopian Names (Based on Circumstance at the Time of Birth)

Some parents name their children depending on the circumstance they are in at the time of the birth or the place their children were born. 

Common names given based on the circumstance would be:

For Male: 

  • Fetene – means he got here fast. A Circumstance it would be used is when the baby is delivered early. 
  • Zinabu – means rain. It’s used when the baby is delivered while there is rain. Asnake – means becoming better than others. Commonly used to say that he will do better than others. 
  • Akayou – is a place in Ethiopia. If the child was born around the area of Akayou they would possibly be named Akayou. 

For Female: 

  • Meskerem – means the first month in the Ethiopian calendar. It’s used when the baby is born in the month meskerem. 
  • Berknesh – means unique. Usually used when the parents only have one child. Netsanet – means freedom. People named Netsanet are usually named after the derg time. 
  • Bilen – it’s an ethnic group in Eritrea. The girl would be named Bilen if she was born around the Bilen area.

Ethiopian Names (Based on Tradition / Ethnicity) 

In Ethiopia, there are more than 80 ethnic groups. These ethnic groups have a culture and some may even have a language. Since they have a language of their own, they also have unique names to their culture. Some examples of ethnic groups are the Oromos, Amhara, Tigre, Gurage, etc. 

Names in Afan Oromo 


  • Birraa – the season of spring which symbolizes blooming 
  • Gammachu- means joy or happiness 
  • Gudata – means the one who grows 
  • Hunde – symbolizes the importance of roots 


  • Iftu – one who shines brightly 
  • Ayantu – one who is always lucky 
  • Hawi – means to wish or wishful thinking 
  • Lensa – means one who’s always seen 

Names in Tigrigna 


  • Afewerki – means mouth of gold 
  • Filimon – favored by God 
  • Haben – pride 
  • Habtom – wealthy 
  • Hagos – joy


  • Amleset – she made it return 
  • Delina – our desire 
  • Elsa – Gods vow 
  • Winta – need
  • Luliya – Diamond

Names in Guragegna 


  • Baffana – a place of rest or home 
  • Worku – means gold 
  • Ashenafi – winner 
  • Tarik – history 


  • Adona – ethnic group in gurage 
  • Tigist – patience 
  • Tseganesh – means our hop 
  • Sina – law or rule 

Names in geez 


  • Tsegaye – my grace 
  • Zeray – means sower 
  • Kidane – my covenant 
  • Haile – power, force, strength 


  • Akalework – means a body of gold 
  • Mihret – mercy 
  • Simret – means service to God 
  • Tinsae – resurrection 

Outdated Ethiopian names

While all names are beautiful, some names might not be frequently used nowadays. Some of these cases might be when the name is very common. They are outdated.


  • Melaku – means the messenger 
  • Abebe – means blossomed 
  • Kebede – translates to he got heavy 
  • Getachew – their lord 
  • Girma – means his majesty 
  • Tsegaye – means my grace 
  • Arega – means the one who settled 
  • Assefa – expanded 
  • Goytom – means their lord 
  • Amare – beautiful 


  • Haymanot – means religion 
  • Saba – equivalent to the queen of sheba 
  • Meaza – scent 
  • Azeb – the queen of the south once visited king Solomon. It is translated in the Amharic bible as queen of Azeb 
  • Alemash – she prospered 
  • Tesfanesh – you are our hope 
  • Bizunesh – means you are a lot 
  • Alem – means the world
  • Worknesh – you are gold 
  • Aster – beautiful flower 

Ethiopian names that are affiliated with politics/war

Here are some of them 

  • Netsanet – freedom 
  • Abyot – revolution 
  • Tesfa – hope 
  • Andnet – togetherness 
  • Tagel – fight 
  • Zemach – warrior 
  • Mengistu – the government 
  • Demelash – avenger 

Other Naming Conventions in Ethiopia

Yebet sim

Some might also have ye bet sim, a conventional name used usually amongst family members, neighbors, and relatives. These names are typically concise and easy to remember. Some common names are

  • mita,
  • abuchi,
  • baby,
  • nina,
  • lilly,
  • abi.

If people don’t remember someone’s name or it’s hard to pronounce, they usually call them by these names. 

Depending on the ethnicity of the individual, some may be called by their fathers or mother’s name, for instance

  • ye abunesh lij (Daughter/Son of abunesh) or
  • ye Samuel enat (Samuel’s Mother)

Elderly Common Names

Common names are used to refer to one’s parents. In Ethiopia, it’s disrespectful to call your parents by their given name so depending on the individual’s ethnicity and the time they were born, they could call their father

  • abaye,
  • aboy,
  • aba,
  • father,
  • gashe,
  • ababa and many others

while they can call their mothers as

  • ema,
  • emaye,
  • adey,
  • mother,
  • enate,
  • hatako,
  • uma. 

How couples address each other

There are also pet names used in the Ethiopian community amongst couples they call each other.

  • fikre,
  • mare,
  • wude and many more. These translate to my love, honey, and my precious respectively. 

How to call strangers (someone whose name is not known)

If you wanted to call strangers you didn’t know the name of, you’d say

  • enat or anchi for a female and
  • abat or ante for a male. 

House pet names

Housepets are usually named

  • buchi or jackie for a male dog and
  • wiro for a female cat. 

In general Ethiopian names are unique to their culture and their environment. This makes the names that much more special and catered to that individual. With the blooming of globalization, Ethiopian names are now more accustomed to the western world. You’d hear a name from Western culture and not local to their countries from time to time. Since names represent a person, it’d be nice to reflect that individual’s roots and a form of who they are. 

Also Read

Written by Typical Ethiopian Team

Typical Ethiopian Team is a team of professional authors who regularly publish 12 - 30 blog posts every month. They are doing a really good job of creating unique and reliable content about Ethiopia. If you want to contribute, contact us at [email protected].

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