Theory Into The Roots Of African-American Names

Disclaimer: It is not my intention to offend anybody. These are simply my own speculations. Also, to avoid relying on stereotypes, I listed at the bottom of this page the names of real-life actors and professionals.

Commonly Used Elements

La+/L’+: French for “the

Da+/De+/D’+: French for “of

Ba+: from Yoruba oba meaning “king

Ti-: Cajun French for “petite”

Tami+: Tamim

Ja+: God

Jerm+: Hebrew for “will exalt,” or shortened form of Jermaine with the “spear” or “neighbor” meaning

Tre+/Tray+: Cornish for “home/town

Tyr+: Irish Gaelic for “land”

Kyr+: after kyrie, a Christian prayer

Ri+(shawn): Reese

+Von+: Vaughan

+Shon+: Shaun

+Mika/+Misha: shortened feminine form of Michael


+Toya: Latin for “victory”

+a: feminine


+antes: used in Latin plural forms

+isha: Hebrew for “woman,” Swahili for “finish, end,” or shortened form of Aisha, which is Arabic for “she who lives” or “womanly”

+ondre/+ondria: Andre/Andrea

Commonly Used Names

Aisha: Arabic for “to be alive

Andre/Andrea: Greek for “masculine,” rooted in the Ancient Greek word which means “masculine” and “brave/courageous

Angelo: Italian for “angel

Ashante: Twi for “warlike,” also the name of a tribe

Chantal: French for “stony place” and “song

Dante: Latin for “enduring

Darius: Persian for “possessing goodness

Jafar: Arabic for “stream

Jamal: Arabic for “beauty

Jermaine: Latin for “Germanic,” which has an non-conclusive etymology, but it could mean “spear man” or “neighbor

Juan: Spanish for the Hebrew name meaning “given by god.”

Kareem: Arabic for “generous/noble

Keisha/Kizzy: Hebrew for “spice tree/cinnamon

Lamar: French for “the pool

Leroy: French for “the king

Marcus/Marquess: Latin for “belonging to Mars” and Old French for “marsh-ruler

Michael/Michelle: Hebrew for “Who is like God?

Montrell: Spanish/Italian for “mountain

Rashad: Arabic for “good guidance/sense

Reese: Welsh for “enthusiasm

Shaka: after Zulu King Shaka

Shafiq: Arabic for “compassionate

Shaun/Siobhan: Irish Gaelic for the Hebrew name meaning “given by God

Tamim: Arabic for “strong

Tanya: diminutive form of “Tatiana

Toya: diminutive form of “Victoria

Tyrone: Irish Gaelic for “land of Eoghan

Vaughn: Welsh for “little/younger

Wanda: Germanic for “a Wend,” which itself means “friend” in Old Germanic

Commonly Used Combinations

Quan: perhaps a portmanteau of “khan” and “Juan?” Could mean “god-given khan.”

Shauniqua: Shafiq+Shaun

Tamika: Tamim+Mika

Sha’condria: Shaka+Andrea