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 The origin and meaning of 'amebo' in Nigeria
RICHIE (male)
 Posted on: Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 7:36 am
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Avwebọ (or Amebọ as it's pronounced in some parts) is an Urhobo word meaning favorite wife in a polygamous home, the least favorite being referred to as 'Avweorọvwe'.

In Urhobo culture, where polygamy was common before Christianity, the favorite wife (Avwebo) of a homestead, is loved and desired by her husband for various reasons such as beauty, submissiveness, good culinary skills or other desires qualities.

The Avwebo was looked up to not just by the husband but by the extended family and even the community, with high expectations. It was her duty to ensure that everything is in place for the husband and she was expected to be friendly with her husband's family, friends and community and try not to fall out of favour with them.

Due to the high social expectations invested in her, such a woman would normally always go out of her way to try to please everybody with the husband at the helm. Some of the things an 'Avwebo' would normally do more than  the others  apart from spending more nights with the man of the house include washing Oga's clothes, cooking most times, being in charge of the hospitality for oga's guests, sharing thoughts with the Husband etc. Hence she has the ears of the man of the house and will be the first to report whatever must have transpired in the compound or community while hubby was away including the misdeeds of her mate's children.

'Avwebo' was also fond of breaking the news first and telling people around the negative things she must have heard about them from others in her efforts to be in their good books.

Why "Amebo" for gossip in Nigeria parlance?

The Urhobo people metaphorically do refer to people especially females with a holier-than-thou- attitude or those who will always talk about everything that happens, sometimes to the point of exaggeration as 'avwebo'. As a result of this, other Nigerians started using the word too when referring to a notorious gossips and the name spread gradually starting from Lagos.

Peter Ikogho also gave an interesting account about this matter in an earlier post.

"... Coming to Amebo being refered to as a Gossip is a fallout of the role played by Veteran Actress Mrs Ibidun Allison in the now long rested Soap Opera/Drama series -The Village Headmaster(NTA Series)  of the middle 1960s up to early 1980s - where in her effort to please everyone in the Community became a gossip/local News carrier."

'Amebo' is more common as against the 'Avwebo' mostly due to the inability of most Nigerians, non Urhobo or Edo speakers to pronounce some consonants like 'vw/vb', replacing it with 'm', though some Urhobo groups pronounce 'Amebo' in their dialect.

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Source: http://www.nairaland.com/4107875/amebo-nigeria-parlance-origin-meaning

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