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10 Yoruba Words That You Probably Didn’t Know Are Of Arabic Origin


The Yoruba language is heavily influenced by the Arabic language and there are a lot of words we use every day that has Yoruba origins.

Here are some Yoruba words with Arabic roots that you probably did not know.


1. Wahala

‘Wahala’ in Yoruba means trouble. It’s also used in Pidgin English, and it is derived from the Arabic word “wahla,” which means “fright,” or “terror.”

argument relationship quarrel troubles

Photo: Ray Style’s Hand

2. Iwaju

‘Iwaju’ means ‘front’ and  it is derived from the Arabic “al-wajh,” which means “front” or “face.”

3. Faari

‘Faari’ means  to ‘show off’.  It is derived from the Arabic “fakhr,” which means “glory”, “pride”, or “honour”

4. Barika

‘Barika’ means congratulations in Yoruba. The word is from “al-baraka,” which means “greetings.” or “blessings”

Image result for congratulations gif

5. Asiri

‘Asiri’ means secret in Yoruba.  It is derived from the Arabic “as-sirr” where it also means “secret.”

6. Ara

‘Ara’ means thunder in Yoruba. It is derived from the Arabic word, “ar-ra’d.

rain in mombasa

7. Abere

‘Abere’ is the Yoruba word for needle and it is derived from “ai-bra,” which also means needle.

Image result for needle

8. Adura

Adura is the Yoruba word for prayers. Adura. It is derived from the Arabic word “du’a,” which also means prayers.

9. Fitila 

This means lamp in Yoruba. It originated from the Arabic word,“fatil”.

nepa 6

Images: Pickettfents

10. Alubosa

This is the Yoruba word for “Onion”. It is derived from the Arabic word, “Al-basal”

Image: BBC


Interesting right? You might also want to see 15 Yoruba names that are of Arabic origin.