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What does Barack Obama's name mean?

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President Barack Obama Meets Italian Premier Matteo Renzi
Elisabetta Villa / Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Question: What does Barack Obama's name mean?
Despite rumors to the contrary, U.S. President Barack Obama is not a practing Muslim. However, President Obama does have an unusual name which reflects his African Muslim heritage.
Answer: President Obama was reportedly named after his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.

The President's first name, Barack, is a Swahili name that has its origins in the Arabic language. The original Arabic root of the name (B-R-K) means "blessed." In Arabic, the root word is used in many other phrases to denote blessings and to describe people who are blessed:

  • Mabruk! = "Congratulations!"
  • Barakallah feek = "May God bless you"
  • Barakah = blessings from God (feminine version of the name)
President Obama's middle name is Hussein, which was his grandfather's first name. The name, of Arabic origin, means "good" or "handsome one." It is common in Muslim cultures for children (both boys and girls) to have a middle name which directly connects them to their father or grandfather.

President Obama's surname is not uncommon among the Luo tribe, one of the three largest ethnic groups in Kenya. They speak the Dhoulou language.

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