Meaning:"lacking nothing, one who knows the way"
Description:This is an African name that would fit into any culture.
Description:The African name Ayan was first seen on the US Top 1000 for boys in 2014. It's both simple and distinctive, a winning combination.
Origin:African place-name or Japanese
Meaning:"the god of the waters"
Description:Pleasing crossover possibility.
Origin:African tribe; also Italian
Meaning:"owner of land and farms"
Description:Unusual name chosen for her son by actress Nia Long, who combined it with the even more unusual literary middle name, Zhivago.
Origin:Afrikaans version of Beatrice
Meaning:"blessed; she who brings happiness"
Description:Namibian supermodel Behati Prinsloo, who has walked the runway for every designer from Prada to Versace to Vera Wang, has introduced us to this Afrikaans version of Beate or Beatrice, a rhythmic twist on an international favorite.
Origin:African and Arabic mythology name; diminutive of Melissa
Description:Lissa might be an abbreviation of Melissa, but it's more substantial in its own right: Lissa is the name of a supreme mother goddess in African mythology and an Arabic symbol of rebirth.
Description:A relatively new name on the scene, increasing in popularity since 1999.
Description:A variation of Nila, a name spread through African by the substantial Indian population there. Also a variant of Neala and Neila.
Meaning:"Born on a Sunday"
Description:Akosua means "born on a Sunday," which relates the name to the sun and thus to fire. The Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born. Most Ghanans have a name using this system (think Kofi Annan, whose name means born on a Friday). Akosua is the name for girls born on a Sunday. The name for boys born on a Sunday is Kwasi.
Origin:Ghanaian, Akan, Twi
Meaning:"Born on a Wednesday"
Description:The Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born. Most Ghanans have a name using this system (think Kofi Annan, whose name means born on a Friday).
Origin:African, Congolese; also literary name
Meaning:"piece of earth"
Description:When the Eddie Murphys named their fourth daughter Zola, it affirmed the up-and-coming status of the name, which has African roots, but also literary links to Emile Zola. Zola may also be recognizable to some as the adopted daughter of Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd on the hit, long-running show Grey's Anatomy.
Description:Nyala is a secret nature name with a fashionable animal meaning. Nyala might be an appropriate name for a baby girl born under the sign of Capricorn, which is symbolized by the goat, or in the Chinese Year of the Goat -- though the last one was 2015 and we won't have another until 2027. Although the nee beginning is most frequently cited as the correct pronunciation, the name can -- and often will -- be pronounced with the first syllable rhyming with my and sigh.
Description:This Hindi word which is used in prayer is one of the prime names that mean peace, always a nice message to impart to a child. Nick Nolte used it for his daughter.
Origin:Hebrew; also Swahili from Arabic
Meaning:"thunderbolt, lightning; or blessing"
Description:The name of the 44th president, which he inherited from his Kenyan father, is related to the Swahili word "baraka," meaning "blessing," derived from the Arabic "baracka." It is linked, through the Semitic root, to the Hebrew name Baruch. Barack is also sometimes an alternate spelling of the Hebrew name Barak, which stems from the Semitic word for "lightning." Barack Obama may have found it a difficult name to grow up with, but the same won't be true for the many babies starting to be given that name. Other parents are being inspired to use Obama, which is a common surname among the Luo people of East Africa meaning "to lean or bend."
Meaning:"first born of twins"
Description:Strong name from the Esan language of Nigeria, with a satisfyingly specific meaning for a child's place in the family.
Origin:Spelling variation of McKenna or Kikuyu
Description:A name from the East African Kikuyu language with a sweet meaning; and a simplified spelling of McKenna.
Origin:African, Nigerian, Yoruba
Meaning:"the crown meets joy"
Description:Short form of Adebayo
Meaning:"mother, or born on a Saturday"
Description:An anagram of Mama, in tune with its Tamil meaning.
Description:Simple African name all-but-unknown in the U.S. and Europe, which is exactly why it might make a perfect choice. Similarity to such popular names as Ava and Eva (and the Irish Aoife) makes it more familiar, but potentially more confusing.
Meaning:"high, exalted, praised"
Description:Samiya is a name used by parents of both Arabic and African ancestry. Spelling variations include Samiyah, Samiah, and Samia.