Here we will look at the meanings of German surnames beginning with L.
Alternatively, click on the following letters to go to German surnames beginning with:
Lambert / Lampe / Lampke – Stemming from the old German personal name ‘Landbehrt’. ‘Land’ most probably referred to ‘owned land’ and ‘behrt’ to ‘bright’ or ‘shining’.
Lang / Lange / Langer – This German surname literally translated means ‘long(er)’ and would have originally referred to a ‘tall’ person. Thus, like so many other German names, it referred to the physical appearance of the original name holder.
Langner – Most likely to have originally denoted inhabitants of ‘Langenau‘. There are several places called ‘Langenau’ in Germany, such as those located in Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Hessen and Bavaria. There are several places in Poland and the Czech Republic which also bear the same name.
Lau / Laue – From the Middle High German word ‘lauwe’ meaning ‘lion’ in English, thus originally describing somebody who was deemed as ‘brave as a lion’, for example. Alternatively, it may have originally been a house name, which, in due course, would have become the surname of the occupants. Furthermore, this German surname may have originally referred to inhabitants of one of several places in Germany which include ‘lauwe / lau’ as part of its name, such as ‘Lowenstein’.
Lauer – In some cases from the Middle High German word ‘lure’ referring to a ‘sly / cunning person’. In other cases, however, this German name meant ‘tanner’ stemming from the Middle High German word ‘lower’. The name was first recorded in 1343 as ‘Lur’ (Friedrich Lur of Michelfield.)
Lauterbach / Lauter / Lauterer – The name of several places (and tributaries) in Germany. For example, the towns of ‘Lauter’ in Saxony and Bavaria and the town of ‘Lauterbach’ in Hesse, central Germany. Thus, originally, it most likely denoted inhabitants of one of these towns.
Lechner / Lehmann / Lehner – From the Middle High German word ‘lehen’ meaning ‘feudal land’ and referred originally to somebody who held a ‘fief’. A ‘fief’ in medieval times was more than a piece of land – it would have comprised a village, huts, a manor house/castle, woods as well as pastures on which to grow food.
Ledig – This German surname means ‘single’ in English nowadays (i.e. marital status.)
Lehnert – A variation of the name ‘Leonhard’. Please see ‘Leonhard’ listed below for further information.
Lempke / Lembcke / Lemke – A short form of the name ‘Lambert’. Please see ‘Lambert’ listed above for further information.
Lenz – A short form of Lorenz. Please see ‘Lorenz’ listed below for further information.
Leonhard(t) – From the Old High German name ‘Leonhard’ - from the Latin ‘leo’ meaning ‘lion’ and the German word ‘hard’ meaning ‘bold / strong / brave’ thus inferring ‘strength of a lion.’ Made popular in the Middle Ages by Saint Leonard (also known as ‘Leonard of Noblac’) who is the patron saint of prisoners.
Lindemann – Derives from one of several places in Germany called ‘Linde’ or ‘Linden’, such as ‘Linden’ in Hessen or ‘Linden-Limmer’ in Hannover. It is thus likely to have originally described inhabitant of one of these places. Also see ‘Linder/ Lindner’ listed below.
Linder / Lindner – Derives from one of several places called ‘Lindenau’ in Germany, such as those located in Brandenburg and Leipzig. It is thus likely to have originally described inhabitants of one of these places. ‘Linde‘ refers to the ‘linden tree’ and, therefore, very often describes a place where linden trees grow (or once grew.)
Link / Linke – From the Middle High German word ‘linc’ meaning ‘left’. This German surname was thus originally a nickname for a left-handed person or someone who was deemed clumsy.
Lippert / Leuprecht / Leiprecht – Stemming from the old German word ‘Liuberht’ meaning ‘shining / holy among people’ thus originally referring to somebody deemed either particularly religious / blessed or clever.
Loch – Literally translated this German surname means ‘hole/gap’ in English and would have originally referred to somebody who lived in or near to a ditch or hole.
Loeffler – From the Middle High German word ‘leffler’, it was originally the occupational name for a maker of wooden spoons. In German nowadays, ‘Löffel’ means ‘spoon’ amongst other things.
Loewe – From the Middle High German word ‘lauwe’ meaning ‘lion’ in English. Thus, originally it most likely described somebody who was as ‘brave’ or as ‘strong as a lion’. Alternatively, it may have originally been a house name, which ultimately became the surname of the people who lived there.
Lohmann – Originally referred to somebody who lived in or near to a wood. This popular German surname can be found most frequently in Hamburg, Germany.
Lohr – Originally denoted inhabitants of ‘Lohr am Main’ in Lower Franconia, Bavaria in Germany. Human settlement is believed to have taken place in the town by the 8th century.
Lohse / Loose / Loos – Most likely to have stemmed from a place in Germany bearing the same or very similar name, such as ‘Loose’ in Rendsburg-Eckernförde in Schleswig-Holstein, or ‘Loosen’ in Mecklenburg-Vorpommen. It may also be a short form of ‘Ludwig’. Please see ‘Ludwig’ listed below for further information.
Lorenz – A German variation of the Latin surname ‘Laurentius’ meaning ‘from Laurentum’ which was a village near Rome. Made popular by Saint Laurentius of Rome (Lawrence of Rome) who was a deacon of ancient Rome and who was martyred in 258. Saint Laurentius is now one of the most venerated saints in the Roman Catholic Church and many other saints are named after him. ‘Laurence/Lawrence’ is the English equivalent of this German surname.
Ludwig – This Old High German name has been made popular over the centuries by numerous kings, princes and nobles bearing the same name. ‘Ludwig’ is derived from the old Germanic words ‘Hlud’ meaning ‘famous’ and ‘wig’ meaning ‘warrior’, ultimately meaning ‘famous warrior’. This popular German surname may have been given to a servant of one of the numerous King Ludwigs.
Lutz – A short form of the German name Ludwig. Please see ‘Ludwig’ listed above for further information.
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