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Igbo Dictionary Team
The real truth about Ibo Vs Igbo
The Igbo Alphabet
Abbreviations Used in this Dictionary
Igbo - English Dictionary
The Igbo Dictionary Team
Editorial / Research Team
Yvonne Chiọma Mbanefo
Agwo Eos Odili
Chika Unigwe
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Nnọrọm Azụonye
Igbo or Ibo?
There are some interesting misconceptions around the use of Igbo/Ibo, one of which is that
one refers to the language and the other, the people. Another wide-spread misconception is
that one is simply the alternative spelling for the other and therefore that both are
interchangeable. The acceptance that the latter idea has gained is obvious in its use even by
Igbos themselves in their writing. In academic writings even, this idea is perpetuated that
whether one chooses to use 'Igbo' or 'Ibo' is simply a matter of taste. 'Ibo' is as popular as
However, popularity does not equal validity. At least not in this case. It is not a question of a
democratic show of hands where the winner is the one with the most supporters.
Ibo is simply a bastardized spelling of the word, Igbo. To understand where this corruption
came from, one must go back to colonization. Nigeria was an English colony. The English
have no 'gb' sound. The colonialists mispronounced 'Igbo' as 'Ibo' and therefore transcribed it
as such. That that English mispronunciation persists up until today, and the fact that it has
such widespread acceptance even among Ndi Igbo themselves shows just how deeply we
were colonized.
There are other misspelt Igbo words, Enug(w)u for example. However the fight to begin
reclaiming our words must begin with us demanding to be called by our proper name. We are
not Ibo. We do not speak Ibo. We are Igbo. We speak Igbo.
Chika Unigwe
The Igbo Alphabet
A B Ch D E F G Gb
Gh Gw H I Ị J K Kp
Kw L M N Nw Ny Ṅ O
Ọ P R S Sh T U Ụ
Abani /aban / Night noun
the interval of darkness every 24 hours
connecting sunset and sunrise, different
from day
Alt Abanị, Uchichi, Ujichi
Asambodo /asambodo/ Certificate noun
an official document attesting the truth of
the facts stated, as of birth, marital status,
death, health, completion of an academic
course, ability to practise a profession, etc
/ Armpit adj
the small hollow below the arm where it
connects with the shoulder
Alt Akpa abụ, Evụ , Avụ, Ebụ
Azụzụ /az z / Catarrh noun
inflammation of a mucous membrane with
increased production of mucus, esp
affecting the nose and throat in the
common cold
/ Pus noun
the yellow or greenish fluid product of
swelling, largely made up of dead
leucocytes, exuded plasma, as well as
liquefied tissue cells
Alt Avụ
Ada /ada/ First Daughter noun
the first girl born in a nuclear family
Anụ /an / Meat noun
the soft tissue of mammals used as food,
different from that of birds and fish
Anwụrụ /aŋʷ r / Smoke noun
1. the outcome of combustion, made
up of fine particles of carbon
carried by hot gases and air
2. any cloud of fine particles
suspended in a gas
Ana ŋ Whip/Cane noun
the long jointed pithy or hollow flexible
stem of the bamboo, rattan, or any similar
plant, used for administering punishment
Alt Ụtallị, Ịtallị
Atụ /at / Chewing stick
stick from a special herbaceous tree, used
for cleaning the teeth as an alternative to
toothpaste and toothbrush.
/ Hatred
a feeling of intense dislike; enmity
Alt Ashị, Azị
Banye /baɲe/ Enter verb
1. to come or go into (a place, house,
2. to penetrate or pierce(tr)
3. to introduce or insert
Bawanye /bawaɲe/ Increase
to make or become greater in size, degree,
frequency, etc; grow or expand
1. the act of increasing; augmentation
2. the amount by which something
Chabie /tʃabie/Cut
to divide or be divided with or as if with a
sharp instrument
Alt Chawa, Bebie
Dagide /dagide/ Lean on
1. depend on for advice, support, etc
2. informal to exert pressure on
(someone), as by threats or
Gbajie /ɓ~ ɓa dʒ ie/ Break Verb
to damage or become damaged so as to be
Ghee /ɣee/ Fry Verb
to cook or be cooked in fat, oil, etc, usually
over direct heat