Definition of Turkana in US English:



  • 1A member of an East African people living between Lake Turkana and the Nile.

    • ‘For the Turkana, the beneficent god Akuj is white and luminous, whereas the bad spirit called Ekipe is black or red.’
    • ‘Not only does the Turkana's lifestyle provide a challenge for health care, but the region's poor roads and bridges also hamper healthcare delivery.’
    • ‘The Turkana would be in far worse condition if mobility were not an option.’
    • ‘But over the years, more and more Ariaal - like the Masai and the Turkana in Kenya and the Tuaregs and Bedouins elsewhere in Africa - are settling down.’
  • 2The Nilotic language of the Turkana, spoken by about 250,000 people.


  • Relating to the Turkana or their language.

    • ‘As a response to the drought and heavy herd losses, Turkana district began receiving famine relief in March 1993.’
    • ‘In recent decades, Turkana women have progressively ceased to wear their traditional skin clothing, primarily because of recurrent droughts and famine in the region.’
    • ‘Originally used by girls as fertility dolls, Turkana dolls have been made for sale to tourists over the past few decades.’
    • ‘This married woman's apron, probably dating from the 1980s, played an important part in many events of Turkana life.’
    • ‘The pastoral Turkana tribe, whose cattle still graze the arid moonscape surrounding the lake, hold two things sacred: water and grass.’


A local name.