Lesson 4: Human Body Parts in Twi (Honam Akwaa)

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Hi there! You are welcome to lesson 4 of the Twi vocabulary course. In our last lesson, we learnt about the months of the year in Twi.

The present lesson promises to be an interesting one. We are going to learn the Twi names of the various human body parts.  As comprehensive as the list below may appear, it is by no means exhaustive of all the human body parts there are. Hence, if you know of the Twi name of any body part that is not included in the list, please contribute by posting it in the comments section below the post.

You may continue reading beneath the embedded video below.

Video Lesson

Human Body Parts in Twi

Akan (Twi) English
nipadua the human body
honam akwaa body parts
honam/wedeɛ skin
nam flesh
nwi hair
etire nwi/tiri nwi hair (on head)
etire head
tikwankora skull
amene/adwene brain
anim face
moma forehead
atikɔ occiput
ani eye
ani ntɔn nwi eyebrow
anisoatɛtɛ eyelashes
ɛhwene nose
afono cheek
asontɔrem temple
aso ear
ano mouth
ɛse tooth
ɛse akyi nam gum
tɛkyerɛma tongue
menemu throat
abɔdweɛ chin
abɔdwesɛ beard
ano nwi mustache
ɛkɔn neck
ɛkɔn akyi nam scruff
abatire shoulder
kokoɔ/bo chest
akoma heart
brɛboɔ liver
ahrawa lung
saa/sawa kidney
tann pancreas
bɔnwono gall bladder
mfe mpadeɛ ribs
abasa arm
amɔtoam(u) armpit
abatwɛ elbow
nsa hand
ntini vein
nsayam palm
nsateaa finger
bɔwerɛ fingernail
yafunu belly
yam (yafunum’) stomach
nsono intestine
dwonsɔtwaa bladder
sisie waist
afunuma navel
ayaaseɛ pelvic region/lower abdomen
awodeɛ womb
pa hip
ɛserɛ thigh
kotodwe knee
nanhini shin
ɛnan leg
anantuo calf
nantabono foot
nantini heel
nanpɔso ankle
nansoaa toe
nan mmuromu/nan mu sole
mogya blood
dompe bone
akyim bone marrow
akyire/akyi back
berɛmo backbone
ɛtoɔ buttock
apɔ so joint
kɔkɔbo rectum
anofafa lip
abakɔn wrist
nan kokom popliteal fossa/knee pit
badwoa (plural: mmadwoa) lump

Tabooed Human Body Parts in Twi

You may have noticed that certain body parts have been excluded from the list above. This is intentional. The Akan people place strict prohibitions on the open utterance of certain names. Amongst such names include those that refer to the various sexual organs. When talking about such tabooed parts, Akans normally resort to euphemisms to connote them. The actual Twi names for these body parts are considered too vulgar by Akans and, for that matter, hardly used. Below, I give the Twi names of these body parts, along with their respective euphemisms. If you have to talk about any of them, please respect tradition and use the euphemisms.

Akan (Twi) Euphemism English
kɔteɛ barima penis
hwoa atɛ testicle
nufoɔ pokua

(plural: mpokua)

ɛtwɛ Akosua kumaa vagina
ɛtwɛba clitoris
turumu agyanan kwan anus

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Tikya Yaw
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6 Responses
  1. Agnes Asiedu-Minta

    This work is great. This is my first time here and I am enjoying your site.

    PLEASE NOTE THIS word “abatwɛ” – I was taught by an elder that the Elbow is called “abatwere” due to the fact that we use it to lean against a wall (Yɛ de twere ɛban) but over time the word was degraded to “abatwɛ”. (People actually abuse this as the end sounds like ”ɛtwɛ”

    Thank you.

    1. Yaw

      Really? That explanation does sounds legitimate. This is how we are all going to learn from each other. Thank you for the note; I hope others learn from it. Glad to have you here.

  2. Daniel Rexford

    Hi Yaw,

    This is my first time on your site. It is very interesting. Great work! congratulations!

    However, I have the ff. comment:

    1. I think the euphemism for breast pokuaa (plural: mpokuaa)] should rather be ‘pokua’
    (plural: mpokua) as pokuaa is a name for female poku.

    2. That of vagina should also be Akosua and clitoris Akosua kumaa

    1. Yaw

      Thank you, Daniel. You’re 100% right on the first one, so I’ve made the correction. I’m not too sure about the second one though so I’ll look further into it.

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