Surprising Arabic Origins: Celebrities and the Meaning Behind Their Arab Names 

In many conversations in the Arab world, when we meet someone new and learn their name, many times we can’t help but comment at the meaning behind their name. We have so many Arabic names packed with meaning, whether it is “Seif” (sword) or “Nour” (light).

Turns out that across the Atlantic, all the way in the US, many celebrities also have Arabic names. Here are some that are worth mentioning:

Dua Lipa

British-Albanian singer and songwriter Dua Lipa rose up the ranks with her inescapable, dance-infused pop songs. Her unmatched energy made her one of the ultimate pop stars of our generation. There is a lot we know about the singer but one thing you might not have known is that she has an Arabic name.

During an interview, the singer was asked if she knew the meaning of her name in Arabic. She, in fact, does and said that her name, Dua, actually means “prayer” in Arabic. In the interview, she gives us a backstory to her name. “A lot of people in Kosovo are brought up Muslim,” she says in the interview, hence the religious name.


The meaning of the name is hard to catch for many because of its spelling and pronunciation, yet if you pay close attention, you will be shocked to find out its Arabic equivalent. Helmed by one of the most soulful and emotive singers out there who shreds our hearts into pieces, Adele actually has a meaning in Arabic.

It turns out the British star’s name means fair or just in Arabic. We can say that Adele is definitely touting the name through her outrageously successful music career.

Aziz Ansari

Bringing comedy and laughs to the forefront is Indian-American actor Aziz Ansari. In the acting world, he had his very own cult following thanks to portraying deadbeat dropkick Tom Haverford from Parks & Recreation. If you are a big fan of Ansari, you’ll also know that he was raised as a Muslim and so carries a Muslim name.

To Muslims, his name carries religious and historical significance. His name, “Aziz,” means powerful, and his last name, “Ansari,” refers to a group of “helpers” who joined Prophet Muhammed during his journey from Makkah to Medinah.


She probably made you dance at one point as she belted out her reggae-infused hits. Rihanna is one of those artists whose cool and smooth nature has catered to her beloved status. Another way that she’s had a heightened cool factor is through her name. It turns out it has Arabic origins.

Rihanna comes from Rayhan, which is the Arabic word for basil. Just as the herb is an all-star in Italian cooking, so is Rihanna an all-star in the world of entertainment.

Queen Latifah

Her loud, in-your-face personality added with her wise-cracking sense of humor made Queen Latifah the ultimate comedy star especially during the early 2000s. She is a comedy queen and beyond the royal nuances of the first of her stage name, the second one is actually Arab.

Via Parade

It turns out that the word “Latifah” means nice in Arabic, and we can say that her name definitely matches her spirit. When she was eight, she found the name “Latifah” in a book of Arabic names, and that is how it became her stage name.

The Arabic language is known to be rich and diverse but seeing it stream through to Western countries showcases how special it is in a global sense as well.

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