Appendix:Luo surnames

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Main category: Luo surnames

Luo names follow an order pattern of (1) a Christian given name (these used at least for the past two generations), (2) a personal surname (selected from among over 50 "special" attributes, usually relating to the circumstances of a birth, see below), and (3) a patronymic; the child’s father’s personal surname (a woman assumes her husband’s at marriage). Thus, e.g., Valentine Odhiambo Pengo or Philomena Ogwang Odede.

The most common Luo "personal surnames" are as follows (The suffix o- always indicates a male, and a- for a female; about 85% of Luo names include one of these). The meaning is indicated, when well-known and accepted.

"Personal surnames" finishing by the "lo" letters can also be found with a double "l", due to spelling distortion. Examples include Akello for Akelo, or Omollo for Omolo etc.

List of surnames[edit]

  • Agina
  • Adida
  • Obong'o/Abong'o — only child
  • Ahenda
  • Hera — love
  • Obama — twisting
  • Obiero/Abiero — born with the placenta (biero = placenta)
  • Obonyo/[Abonyo] — born during locust infestation (bonyo = locust)
  • Obura/Abura — born during a meeting (bura mean meeting)
  • Oburu/Aburu — born during a funeral (buru mean ash)
  • Obuo/[Abuo] — is a medicinal water plant
  • Ochanda/[Ochanda] — difficult birth (same for male and female)
  • Ochieng’/Achieng’ — born with the sun shining (born from about noon–2pm)) (chieng’ = sun)
  • Ochola/Achola — born after the father’s death
  • Ochuka/[Achuka]
  • Odede/[Adede]
  • Odero/Adero — born during a during a period of abundance (dero = granary)
  • Odhiambo/Adhiambo — born in the afternoon (around dusk (3–6pm); born in the evening; born after sunset) (odhiambo = afternoon)
  • Odhon’g/Adhon’g — very old name; meaning "fist"
  • Odek – born when the mother had picked up traditional vegetables from farm
  • Odika/[Adika] — something that steps hard on the ground
  • Odinga – Luhya origin
  • Odiwuor/Adiwuor — born at night 11pm–2am. Similar to Owuor/Awuor
  • Odondi/[Adondi] — quarrelsome
  • Odongo/Adongo — second born of a twin pair
  • Odoyo/Adoyo — born during weeding
  • Oduol/[Aduol] — born in the father's house (Duol)
  • Oero/Aero — very old name; meaning "to love"
  • Ogola — born outside the house, just under the eave
  • Ogol — remove
  • Ogolo — striger weed
  • Ogot/[Agot] — born on a hill (especially if the mother had taken a walk not expecting the child to come)
  • Ogutu/[Agutu] — born next to the traditional Luo Ugali bowl (called Ogutu or Hagudu)
  • Oigo/[Aigo] — wrestle with
  • Ojwang’/Ajwang’ — born after father died
  • Ojuok — born by the intervention of a spirit (juok = spirit)
  • Okelo/Akelo — born after a pair of twins or the third born of triplets
  • Okech/Akech — born in famine
  • Okeyo/Akeyo — born at harvest time
  • Okinyi or Okinyo/Akinyi — born at dawn (born just after dawn (6am–10am); the male form is rare
  • Okombo/[Akombo]
  • Okomo/Akomo — born in prosperous times or during planting
  • Okongo/Akongo — born during celebration especially where alcohol brew is plenty
  • Okoth/Akoth — born during rainy season (koth mean rain)
  • Okumu/Akumu — mysterious birth (conception after a birth, but before resumption of menses; kum = punition)
  • Okungu/[Akungu] — born during the outbreak of caterpillars, which was also an indication of impending bumpler harvest
  • Oloo/[Aloo] — equivalent to Adam
  • Oludhe/[Aludhe] — provoking, as the case of Peninah to Hannah in the Bible
  • Oluoch/Aluoch — born during a cloudy season
  • Omolo/Amolo — born around dawn (4–6am)
  • Omole
  • Omondi/Amondi — born around dawn (6-10am). mostly men, used interchangeably with Akinyi for women
  • Okoka/[Anoka] — Luo for Enock
  • Ondiek – monster or a wild animal, especially the leopard
  • Oneko/[Aneko] — mad or wild
  • [Ong’ina]/Ang’ina — round
  • Ongonga/[Angonga]
  • Onyango/Anyango — Born in the early morning (born before noon (10am–noon)
  • Ooko/Aoko — born out-of-doors (usually unintentionally)
  • Ooro/Aoro — born during dry season (oro = drought)
  • Opiyo/Apiyo — first born of a twin pair
  • Opolo/Apolo — very old name; meaning "heavenly"
  • Opondo/Apondo — born hidden (pregnancy was not visible)
  • Osano
  • Otieno/Atieno — born at night (7–11pm) (otieno = night)
  • Otiende/[Atiende] — Luhya origin
  • Ouma/Auma — infant delivered into a prostrate position on the ground
  • Owino/Awino — born with umbilical cord around the neck (born covered in meconium or caul) (
  • Ounda
  • Ouko
  • Ochanda
  • Owiti/Awiti — thrown out (mother disowns infant for difficult birth as an apotropaic gesture)
  • Owuor or Odwuor/Awuor — born between midnight–2am
  • Oyange/Ayange — very old name; meaning "discovered"

Other surnames[edit]

These surnames do not follow the "classic" pattern:

  • Adede
  • Ajek
  • Gor — was the "personal surname" of Gor K'Ogalo a famous Luo chief during the 19th century
  • Jalang'o — a Kalenjin or one who is spirited
  • Jow — buffalo
  • Julu
  • Kidenda
  • Kowa — escort me
  • Hongo
  • Magero — causing fearfulness
  • Majuma — Swahili origin (born on a Friday)
  • Meyo
  • Muga — rhinocerous (the O is removed or corrupted)
  • Ndiege
  • Nyang'au — hyena (mostly used in Kisii)
  • Nyaoro — drought's daughter
  • Raila — Luhya origin (meaning One who tickles and causes laughter)
  • Ramogi — Luhya Origin (corruption of Luo for Lamogi — their style of worship)
  • Rao or Rawo — hippopotamus
  • Ogwang — wild cat
  • Ogweyo — lizard
  • Omire — Luhya origin (may represents the person’s origin)
  • Omuga — rhinocerous
  • Onango
  • Oronge — Kisii origin
  • Oruoch — Kisii origin (corruption of Oluoch, one born during fog of cloudiness)
  • Sialo
  • Were — benevolent or philanthropic (attribute of God to Luhyas and Luos)
  • Yienya
  • Lwanda Jawar — Peter (loosely translated to "Stone Savior")