Definition of Igbo in English:


(also Ibo)


  • 1A member of a people of SE Nigeria.

    • ‘The impact of Western ways has been furthered by the increased immigration of southern Nigerians, such as Igbos and Yorubas, who typically have had greater exposure to the Western world.’
    • ‘Under British colonial rule, the Ibos had become an educated élite and after independence there was much resentment of them.’
    • ‘Nigeria is home to 120 million people divided among 250 ethnic groups dominated by the Hausas of the north, the Yorubas of the west and the Ibos in the east.’
    • ‘Ethnic militias are also making a show of strength elsewhere in the south, mainly among the Igbo and the Yoruba, whose political elites call for greater political and fiscal autonomy.’
    • ‘The Bakassi Boys mostly operate in Nigeria's five eastern states, home to the Igbo.’
    • ‘Peoples as diverse as the Visigoths, Chinese, and Ibos at one time or another derived a significant proportion of their slaves from criminal punishments.’
    • ‘Under British rule since the 1880s, the former two peoples were little interfered with under the principle of indirect rule, while the Ibo came to form an educated elite in the south.’
    • ‘In addition, both groups worship an earth divinity that the Igbo call Ala and the Ibibio call Isong.’
    • ‘The role of women must be noted as a complex element of Yoruba society and one that is reflected in cultures of the Egyptians, the Igbo as well as the Yoruba.’
    • ‘Thousands of Igbos are reported to be fleeing Kano and returning to the east, with expectations of violent clashes after the Council of State's decision.’
    • ‘The Ibos, Yoruba, and the Hausa, including those practicing the Christian and Islamic religions, believe in reincarnation.’
    • ‘Today those who are not ethnic Yorubas or Igbos rarely speak Yoruba or Igbo.’
    • ‘And yet, Hausas and Igbos had coexisted peacefully for decades before those massacres of 1966, as evidenced by the presence of thousands of Igbo in Hausaland and vice versa.’
    • ‘Police were also present on the streets of the town for the first time since Monday, dismantling barricades thrown up at the time by the Ibo.’
    • ‘The Africans began to see themselves not as Hausas, Igbos, or Yorubas, but as Nigerians in a common struggle against their colonial rulers.’
    • ‘Her father Jamie is an Ibo adopted by Highland farming folk.’
    • ‘It was attacks on minority Igbos in the north that led to the predominantly Igbo southeastern region forming the breakaway state of Biafra in the civil war of 1966-70.’
    • ‘Ethnic competition among its major ethnic groups, namely, Hausas, Ibos, and Yorubas, as well as between the major groups and the increasingly restive minorities, remain intractable problems.’
    • ‘In this regard the decentralized Igbo were the polar opposite of the British Crown.’
    • ‘He states flat out that the Hausas hated the Igbos and that this was responsible for their massacre of the Igbos in northern Nigeria in the summer of 1966.’
  • 2[mass noun] The language of the Igbo, belonging to the Kwa group and having some 12 million speakers.

    • ‘Nkiru: in Ibo, it means ‘the best is yet to come.’’
    • ‘No one proposes that a word like PHAT - roughly equivalent to the once-celebrated use of BAD to mean GOOD - just sounds like FAT but actually traces to Igbo.’
    • ‘This must mean at least a minimal acquaintance with the culture of black Africa, its concepts of right and wrong, and one of the three widely spoken languages of Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, languages of our slave ancestors.’
    • ‘Most people's daily lives are conducted in tribal languages, either Fang, Bubi, or Ibo, all of which are in the Bantu family of languages.’
    • ‘This word in Ibo means woman, but is also the term for a man without a title.’
    • ‘‘He hardly spoke Igbo, he did not like us to speak it in public,’ Kambili says.’
    • ‘The white missionary was very proud of him and he was one of the first men in Umuofia to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, or Holy Feast as it was called in Ibo.’
    • ‘The words wa, zo, and bia translate as ‘come’ respectively in Yoruba, Ibo, and Hausa, three prominent West African languages.’
    • ‘The major languages are English (official language), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Fulani.’
    • ‘Today those who are not ethnic Yorubas or Igbos rarely speak Yoruba or Igbo.’
    • ‘They are broadcast in English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin English.’
    • ‘The Gullah language retains a great deal of West African syntax and combines English vocabulary with words from African languages such as Ewe, Mandinka, Igbo, Twi, Yoruba, and Mende.’
    • ‘In Igbo, for example, the logophoric pronoun has only one form, and can occur only as subject.’
    • ‘Formerly considered as a Kwa language, recent research has placed Ibo in the Benue-Congo family of languages.’


  • Relating to the Igbo or their language.

    • ‘In this way, Beatrice serves as Achebe's device to look back at his own earlier novels, as well as the narrativization of Igbo mythology undertaken in those earlier novels.’
    • ‘Adamma danced a male interpretation of an Igbo woman's dance, just as she had at the opening of the Mmanwu Festival.’
    • ‘In any case, belief in ‘ogbanje,’ specifically, is enmeshed ideologically in Igbo worldview rooted firmly in the notion of binarism and reciprocity.’
    • ‘Ewe women, like their Igbo sisters, used markets to develop social hierarchies and foster political communication and consciousness.’
    • ‘For some of the educated elite of Enugu State, cultural revitalization would valorize Igbo mores and values.’
    • ‘I joined the group; we sewed singlets and sang Igbo songs.’
    • ‘For example, in Boston, the Igbo community has formed a group that worships in the Catholic tradition, using the native language in both prayers and songs.’
    • ‘It is an important work, not only for some of its original ideas that may stimulate new thinking, but also for the insight it gives into the work of a senior African scholar who has published on Igbo music for over thirty years.’
    • ‘Civil war between the Hausa and Ibo peoples erupted, and Biafra collapsed in 1970.’
    • ‘Perhaps nothing articulates better the maxim that there is a place for everything, or the need for unfettered agency than the wisdom of the Igbo proverb with which I began.’
    • ‘In 1635, two Spanish ships carried West African peoples captured from the Yoruba, Ibo, and Ashanti tribes of what is now Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.’
    • ‘A cardinal since 1985, Francis Arinze is a Nigerian who converted to Catholicism from his traditional Igbo religion.’
    • ‘This experience reinforced Udechukwu's growing curiosity about Igbo life, evidenced in the collection of Igbo proverbs he made at the time.’
    • ‘Okonkwo's insignificance grated on him as much as the presence of the white men and the way that they unraveled the tapestry of Ibo society.’
    • ‘This secularizing process is a complex one, for many Igbo masquerades partake, in some degree, of the extant energies of the ancestors or spirits that inhabit the world.’
    • ‘According to notes by Harris dating to 1954 (supplied by Eli Bentor), an Igbo informant told him that all of these were made by Ibibio.’
    • ‘This Igbo proverb emphasizes that an eagle's skill and success at hunting develop over time, indicating that a mature eagle, like a senior man, is more beautiful and more powerful than he was when he was young.’
    • ‘The traditional Igbo economy depends on root-crop farming.’
    • ‘The BBC World Service Trust's Voices project is a three year national public education broadcasting project made by Nigerians, in Nigeria, for Nigerians in English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages.’
    • ‘In discussions with me, women tended to blur the differences between various masquerades, subsuming all Igbo masking into one threatening mode.’


A local name.