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If you ask older men and women, too many people today name their children things that don’t mean anything, and can barely be pronounced, but that’s not necessarily always true. Some names are variations on classic names with meaning (i.e., Shaquille is a variation of the Arabic name Shakil, which means “handsome”), and some people’s whose name just sounds cool can tell you its origins are more about God and promises for success from their parents, rather than just a catchy moniker. Here are a few famous folks whose names are more than they seem (and yes, you’ll find many of the names to be African).

Sanaa Lathan

I know what you’re thinking, Sanaa must mean gorgeous, because this actress is definitely a looker. But no, the name Sanaa is both of Swahili and of Arabic background. In Swahili, it means “brilliance,” and in Arabic it means “art.”

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