Hello, you have come here looking for the meaning of the word Yoruba. In DICTIOUS you will not only get to know all the dictionary meanings for the word Yoruba, but we will also tell you about its etymology, its characteristics and you will know how to say Yoruba in singular and plural. Everything you need to know about the word Yoruba you have here. The definition of the word Yoruba will help you to be more precise and correct when speaking or writing your texts. Knowing the definition ofYoruba, as well as those of other words, enriches your vocabulary and provides you with more and better linguistic resources.
See also: yoruba


English Wikipedia has an article on:


Borrowed from Yoruba Yorùbá.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈjɒɹʊbə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈjɔːɹəbə/
  • (file)


Yoruba (plural Yoruba or Yorubas)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) A member of an ethnic group or tribe living mainly in southwest Nigeria, southern Benin, and eastern Togo and, as well as in communities elsewhere in West Africa, Brazil and Cuba.
    • 2014 April 7, Claire L. Adida, Immigrant Exclusion and Insecurity in Africa, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 60:
      Approximately 40 percent of Yorubas in Nigeria are Muslim and 60 percent are Christian. [] Its members express a strong preference for being among Yorubas during their worship service: “Since I am a Yoruba and we Yorubas have our own Church. . . ."

Proper noun


  1. A sub-Saharan language. It belongs to the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo language family, and has nearly 40 million speakers in Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone, as well as communities in Brazil and Cuba.
    • 2005, Helen Oyeyemi, The Icarus Girl, Bloomsbury, page 48:
      In the parlour, she could hear Aunty Biola attempting to teach her father Yoruba, collapsing into helpless giggles whenever he mispronounced his vowels, giving them the flat English sound instead of lifting them upwards with the slight outward puff of breath that was required.
  2. An African traditional religion which spawned various offshoots in the Americas in the 15th to 19th centuries. These include santería and Lucumí. See Yoruba religion.
    • 1979, Zacchaeus Akin Ademuwagun, John A. A. Ayoade, Ira E. Harrison, Dennis M. Warren, African therapeutic systems, Crossroads Press, page 130:
      The Yoruba practitioner describes it as a condition where a man's semen will flow out of the vagina before fertilization can take place.
    • 2003, P. Adelumo Dopamu, Samuel O. Oyewole, African Culture, Modern Science, and Religious Thought, African Centre for Religions and the Sciences, →ISBN, page 445:
      The Yoruba practitioner has no difficulty in knowing the difference between what we have classified as magic, medicine or sorcery.
    • 2011, Philemon Omerenma Amanze, African Traditional Medicine, Author House, →ISBN, page 20:
      This is because when the Yoruba practitioner heals a stomach ache, he uses medicine, when he protects someone from accident, he uses magic, and when he invokes for the purpose of harming or killing a person, he uses sorcery.
    • 2012, Velma E. Love, Divining the Self: A Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness, Penn State Press, →ISBN, page 25:
      She was not a Yoruba practitioner but nevertheless had asked for a “birth reading” for her newborn daughter.

Coordinate terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also

Further reading


Yoruba Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia yo

Alternative forms


Of unclear and disputed origin, it is likely that it was derived from an exonym from neighboring groups to the north, such as Hausa, Fulani, or Bariba. Various implausible etymologies have been proposed, often used to insult the Yoruba people or support supposed Middle Eastern or Jewish origins of the Yoruba people. What is certain is that the term was used originally in reference to only the Ọ̀yọ́ people (a subgroup of the Yoruba ethnic group) and the Oyo empire, and did not become used to refer to all Yoruba peoples until the late 19th century during attempts to foster a common ethnic identity. Etymological theories include:

  • Several folk etymologies associate the term from coming from Hausa or Fula slurs of Yoruba people, such as Hausa ya rība meaning "One who cheats," referring to the supposed deceitful tactics Yoruba traders used, or Hausa ya ruba meaning "Bad or rotten person." These has been dismissed and proscribed by most Yoruba scholars, however, the Yoruba term yóóbá is derived from the first etymology, but is not to be mistaken with "Yoruba."
  • According to linguist Kọlá Túbọ̀sún, it ultimately derives from a contraction of yārṑ +‎ ọba "Children of the Ọba", (referring to the Alaafin of Oyo).
  • A newly proposed theory suggests it is a reborrowing from the word Yàgbà, a Yoruba subethnic group, borrowed into the Nupe and Hausa languages, where it became Yarba, and then reborrowed from Hausa Yarbanci


Proper noun


  1. Yoruba (people or ethnicity)
    Synonyms: ọmọ Odùduwà, ọmọ Oòduà, ọmọ Ilẹ̀ káàárọ̀-oòjíire, ìran Yorùbá
    Mo jẹ́ ọmọ Yorùbá.
    I'm Yoruba (ethnicity).
  2. Yoruba (language)
    Kò gbọ́ (èdè) Yorùbá.
    He doesn't understand Yoruba.
  3. (obsolete) Ọ̀yọ́ subethnic group

Derived terms