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Contributions are generally posted as submitted, except for minor corrections such as of typographical errors. It is possible that alternative place name meanings may be found, and readers may wish to challenge statements which appear to be erroneous. Discussion is welcome.

As soon as possible contributions will be marked with one of the following codes with comments where appropriate:
    Æ already exists on the database (whether or not uploaded)
   © cannot be recorded without further information
   ® recorded but not yet uploaded
   ® recorded and uploaded to The Database online.

Information given on this site may be copyright and all quotations should acknowledge Ghana Place Names or other cited sources.

Abeadze Dominase

posted 19 Jun 2012, 08:42 by John Turl   [ updated 19 Jun 2012, 09:07 ]

The name 'Dominase' has long been a puzzle which has now finally been solved. The name clearly suggests the meaning 'Under the Domin Tree', as stated on the history page of the Abeadze State website. But the local name 'Domin' is not listed by F.R.Irvine, the recognised authority on Ghanaian trees, the nearest being 'Doma', the Akan name for the Fig tree. Following an enquiry to the Abeadze website contact address, Nana Dasebre Kwebu Ewusi, the Omanhen of Abeadze State and his wife Monika Intsiful most helpfully undertook to investigate the identity of the tree, consulting Dr. Paul Bosu, the Senior Research Scientist at the CSIR-Forestry Research Institute of Ghana. Dr. Bosu has now confirmed that the tree is indeed Ficus Capensis (syn. F. Sur). Congratulations & thanks to all. Full record: Dominase.

Dagaare Villages

posted 5 Jun 2012, 15:39 by John Turl

Ed Hall has suggested translations for several villages in the Upper West Region. Three of these are now online: Babile, Basuu, and Kwonyonkwon.

Northern Towns & Villages

posted 25 Mar 2012, 10:09 by John Turl

Several records have been added to the database with information obtained from R.S.Rattray's "Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland" (1932), a veritable treasure trove of custom and culture of the northern peoples. To list the links to these records, type in the keywords Rattray hinterland into the Search box above.

Tetrem, Ashanti, Region

posted 16 Mar 2012, 12:28 by John Turl   [ updated 16 Mar 2012, 12:50 ]

From Isaac Takyi: The name "Tetrem" provides an insight into the "mind and spirit" of a town. Most towns are named after persons, animals, rivers, etc and are usually constrained by their physical boundaries. Tetrem was founded by Ashanti Royals as a town that should not be limited by its physical size but by "the goodness, strength, energy, spirit and mind" of its citizens. Using the old adage that "the good that men do lives after them", Tetrem symbolises a town whose reach will go beyond its borders. Hence, the name "Tetrem" ("te-tre-mu") literally means "settle in and grow". 

Tiza, Upper West Region

posted 24 Feb 2012, 07:49 by John Turl   [ updated 24 Feb 2012, 07:55 ]

From Thomas AndersonTiza is a small village halfway between Lawra and Jirapa. The name is derived from two Dagaare words - Te, meaning We, and zaa, meaning all. The story, which I was told a long time ago, is that a group of people looking for a place to settle decided that the area was acceptable to "all of us", "te zaa" in Dagaare.

Seth Okai

posted 20 Oct 2011, 06:10 by John Turl   [ updated 24 Feb 2012, 07:50 ]

From Dr K Anaman: Another village three kilometres north of Nsaba and between Nsaba and Oda is called Seth Okai or sometimes called Teacher Okai. Seth Okai is the name of the person who established the village and is incidentally my father's direct uncle. It was my late father, Mr. A.G. Anaman who got the name erected by the District Assembly and through a series of successful court cases established the origin of the village. Seth Okai was originally from Agona Nyakrom, another major Agona town and one of the current two paramountcies of the Agona people.

Nsaba & Agona Swedru

posted 19 Oct 2011, 17:04 by John Turl   [ updated 20 Oct 2011, 01:18 ]

From Dr. K A Anaman, Co-ordinator of Nsaba Ghana Community Projects: Nsaba is a corrupted Agona language word for "Nsaborowe" or "beaten sponge". Nsaba was a place where people went to beat spongy plants and turn them into sponges for use by people. Over time the word was shortened to Nsaba. Incidentally, another Agona town, Swedru means Soadururu that is carry heavy loads often of plantains and bananas. Please note that the Agonas are distinct Akan sub-ethnic group and not Fantes as wrongly asserted by commentators. The Agona language is about 60% Twi and 40% Fante and was being planned to be used as the national Akan language for Ghana in the 1960s.


posted 21 Aug 2011, 14:48 by John Turl   [ updated 20 Oct 2011, 01:18 ]

From Akwasi Yeboah, Nkosohene of Pramkese: I have browsed online with interest information posted on PRAMKESE, Kwaebibirim District, Eastern Region of Ghana. PRAMKESE, in the Akan language, means "Big Pram". "Pram" is a name of a River after which the town was named. There exists another small town called PRAMKUMA which in the Akan language means "Small Pram". PRAMKUMA is a small town in the neighbourhood of PRAMKESE, equally in the Eastern Region. Attached are pictures of PRAMKESE showing Abraham Kofi Darkwa Police Barracks.

Ga Place Names

posted 6 Apr 2011, 16:15 by John Turl   [ updated 14 Apr 2011, 17:11 ]

See the new page on  Ga place names, for a great contribution from Dora Shehu & Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu. A big thank-you for this effort.

Marcia's Cosmopolitan Mix

posted 24 Mar 2011, 07:11 by John Turl   [ updated 29 Aug 2014, 04:07 ]

From Marcia Olivette: - a veritable cornucopia of data! Can anyone can provide more information where indicated?





Greater Accra

Nkran – fire ants

The word Accra is derived from the word ‘nkran’ meaning ‘ants’ in Akan, a reference to the numerous anthills seen in the countryside around Accra.



Gbaloi awe – traditional prophets house

The word Gbawe is derived from two words. ‘Gbaloi which means traditional prophets and awe which means house.



Sweet Water

The word Nungua etymologically is taken from the word ‘Nu’ which means water and ‘Ngua’ meaning sweet.  Hence the meaning ‘sweet water’

alt. etym.


Sandy Area

The word Shiashie etymologically is taken from the word ‘shia’ which means sand and ‘shie’ which means area or place. Hence the meaning ‘sandy area or place.



Salty Water

The word Ningo is taken from the word ‘Nu’ meaning water and ‘Ngoo’ meaning Salt. Hence the meaning ‘Salty Water’.

 ® Old
® New


Under the light (light under)

History has it that, it was a place full of river. People traveled to the place with their lighted wiki’s to come and sell there. So it popularly became a name for any trader traveling there to sell. But gradually the original name ‘ka ne – eshi became kaneshie.


Central Region




Cape Coast

Cabo Corsa – short cape/Market place

The Portuguese built first trade lodge in 1555 and called the local settlement ‘Cabo Corso’ meaning ‘short cape’, later corrupted to ‘cape coast’. The older traditional name was ‘Oguaa’ from the Fante Word ‘egua’ meaning ‘market’.



Akan people left behind

‘kwamankese’ etymologically means ‘kwaman’ which means Akan people, and ‘kese’ also means left behind. Hence the meaning, ‘Akan people left behind’.

etym. suspect - kese=big?

Twifo Praso

Twi people around the river pra.

‘Twifo Praso’ was derived from two words, ‘Twifo’ which means Twi People and ‘Praso’, which means on the pra river. Hence the meaning, ‘Twi people around the river Pra’.



Big City

It was the first town which was established in the central region. It is believed that they migrated from  ‘Takyiman’ and settle there after years of moving around. But following the visit of the Europeans, they called the place ‘fanti nation’ because many fantes came to settle there before migrating to form other towns in the central region. . Hence the meaning ‘man’ = big, ‘city’= kessim.


Salt pond

A pond of Salt

The town was named after a big pond in the town which generated salt. So when the first Europeans came they settled near the pond and gave it that name. This later became Salt pond.

alt. etym. added


A bird’s stone

Before people settled there, there was a big stone there, which presently has the fort built on it, and this stone had plenty of birds coming to dwell on it as their habitat.


Eastern Region





Kofi Ofori Dua

Oral tradition has it that Koforidua owes its name to a man, Kofi Ofori, who had built his hut under a huge mahogany tree. This tree provided shelter for weary farmers who were returning from their farms after a hard day’s work. Over time it became common for the farmers to say that they were going to rest under Kofi Ofori’s tree, hence the meaning, kofi ofori = personal name;  dua = tree.



Resting place

It was a resting place for farmers who were returning from farming after a hard day’s work. Hence the meaning, ‘resting place’.

more etym. needed


Hunter’s Market

Etymologically it means ‘Awuku’ a name of an ancient hunter and ‘dua’ meaning market. Hence the meaning Hunter’s Market.

perhaps Awukugua

Volta Region





Clan name

HO was founded by Asor, the third of 3 sons of Kakla. They originally lived in Komedzrale, but following expansion and conflict went their separate ways and founded the 3 towns of Asogli State; Akoefe, Kpenoe, and HO, which is the ‘fiadu’ of Asogli.

etym. not given


What a town

History has it that, when the in habitat got on the land, the land was fertile and they said to themselves, ‘what a town’, hence the meaning what a town.

cannot locate 


Stump or short stick



Upper East Region





Clay Rock /Rocky Area

In the middle of the market of the regional capital Bolgatanga, lies a large flat rock. Quiet close to this area is the site where the settlers dug clay for building and polishing their houses. Thus the place was named Bolgatanga.



Good environment/ good area


cannot locate  


Peace Town


cannot locate   

Northern Region





Shea butter trees

‘Tamale’ is a relatively new town which at the turn of the last century was just a cluster of villages known mainly for the numerous shea butter trees – the ‘tama’ – from which it got the name ‘Tamale’


Yendi ‘Naya’

Home of the King




Fight for the state of dagbon


probably Zabzugu

Upper West Region






The name of the town means ‘come’ in the Waali language. Perharps the name refers to the influx of Muslim migrants from the north.


Ashanti Region





Okum = tree name, ase= under/ literally meaning Under Okum tree

Getting to the end of the 17th century, Anokye Komfuo planted three ‘kum trees’ at different places. One at Kwaaman, a second one at Apemso – Bankofo and a third at a village near Fomena & Amoafo called Oboani. The kum tree at Kwaaman flourished and became a very big tree under which the king and his people often sat and so Kwaaman became Kumase meaning ‘under kum’.



It is soft for you

‘Agona’ was derived from the word – ‘agno amawu’ which means it is soft or it has become soft for you.

Abusua name? 

Brong Ahafo Region





Elephant Skinning

The city of Sunyani arose as an outpost camp for elephant hunters during the 19th century. Its pronounced; ‘esono’ = elephant; dwa = to skin; ni = person; which gives you the meaning elephant skinning.


Western Region





Junior House

Etymologically ‘efia’ means House and ‘kuma’ means Junior. Hence the meaning Junior House.

cannot locate  

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