Obama Trumps Osama

The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble
The Cat’s Eye Nebula from Hubble Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

The Story

Just the other day a man named Obama tracked down another man named Osama, who was quickly dispatched to the next world.  Actually, Obama only gave the orders, for the secret mission was carried out by a bunch of SEALs, as in Sea, Air & Land mission. In the few days since the great event occurred, news of the action has traveled many times around the world. Now that Osama is gone and our president (Obama) is currently enjoying a small surge in popularity, I thought It would be of interest to look into the origins of these terms words and take a look at what meaning each name confers.


According to answers.com the family name Obama is derived from the Dholuo, the name of the language of the Luo people of southwestern Kenya, a place where President Obama’s father was born. The family name actually comes from the base word bam, which can be translated as something that is crooked or bent. This word most likely refers to a crooked stick or leg rather than someone who is dishonest.


On the other hand, Osama comes directly from Arabic and when translated into English, means lion, as in king of the jungle. I guess it is fair to say that Osama was not very much a lion if he got done in by a bunch of seals.

The Rest of the Story

To complete the discussion of names, it should be noted that Barrack, Obama’s first name is derived from Swahili, which is very similar to Arabic, and simply means “blessed”. And then there is bin Laden, which is a family name that is passed down to the son.


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