60+ Of The Most Popular Polish Last Names (With Meanings And Origins!)

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
Polish Last Names
Mohammed Ajwad/Unsplash

Polish last names, like many others in the region, tend to be based on occupations/jobs, places, or nicknames. Etymologically speaking, these three categories are known as cognominal, toponymic, and patronymic, respectively. Around the 13th century, it became trendy for people to add the suffix -ski (which means “of”) to their last names. It still remains one of the biggest clues that a name is Polish — roughly 35 percent of the 1000 most popular Polish surnames have the -ski suffix. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, most people had three names: a given name, a clan name, and a last name. Then, between the end of the 17th century and mid-19th century, most of the population dropped their clan names, with the focus then placed on the family name; many of which remain.

You’ll also see Slavic names among Polish last names. Legend has it that when these names were given, the bearer was meant to fulfill the prophecy of the name’s meaning. But when a ban on pagan names was imposed with the Council of Trent, these old Slavic names — and their suffixes used to create surnames — all but died out. As is true with naming in many cultures, though, trends and customs have seen several evolutions over time. In the 19th century, Poles reclaimed the old Slavic names and suffixes out of patriotism. Some of these are still in use today.

It’s no wonder that Polish last names are popular — it’s a fascinating region and culture. Did you know that Poland is the ninth largest country in Europe? But that isn’t the only cool thing you should keep in mind about this Eastern European nation. For one, it shares a border with seven other countries including Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Slovakia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, and Germany. (That’s a lot of neighbors!) Its official name is the Republic of Poland and, within their culture, they value health, faith, adaptability, generosity, justice, nobility, tradition, stoicism, sentimentality, and optimism.

Do you want to learn more last names from other countries? We’ve gathered surnames from around the world to satiate your curiosity. Check out our bounty of Spanish, Mexican, and Brazilian last names!

Poland is a vast country filled with millions of people with a million stories. Last names can give you a glimpse of that. Ready to learn more? Check out some of the most popular Polish last names, along with their meanings and origins.

  1. Adamik

Meaning: Man Origin: Hebrew

  1. Andrysiak

Meaning: Son of Andrzej Origin: Polish

  1. Adamski

Meaning: Someone from Adamy, a village in Poland Origin: Polish, Jewish, Ashkenazic

  1. Antol

Meaning: Precious Origin: Latin

  1. Augustyn

Meaning: Augustinus; exalted, majestic, or venerable Origin: Polish, Latin

  1. Bartosz

Meaning: Son of Talmai or son of Furrows Origin: Polish

  1. Bosko

Meaning: Barefoot Origin: Polish, Slovak

  1. Broz

Meaning: Immortal Origin: Polish

  1. Brzezinski

Meaning: Birch forest Origin: Polish

  1. Budny

Meaning: Hut, cabin Origin: Polish

  1. Bukoski

Meaning: Someone who belonged to the town of Bukowo Origin: Polish

  1. Chlebek

Meaning: Bread Origin: Polish

  1. Chmiel

Meaning: Someone who grows hops (the plant used to brew beer) Origin: Polish

  1. Czajka

Meaning: Lapwing bird Origin: Polish

  1. Czajkowski

Meaning: Someone who belongs to the village of Czajkow or any other place with a name starting with the word Czajk Origin: Polis

  1. Dabrowski

Meaning: Oak grove Origin: Polish

  1. Dudek

Meaning: A crested Old World nonpasserine bird Origin: Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak

  1. Dziedzic

Meaning: Landowner Origin: Polish

  1. Gorecki

Meaning: Mountain Origin: Polish

  1. Jabłoński

Meaning: Apple tree Origin: Polish

  1. Jagoda

Meaning: Berry Origin: Polish

  1. Jankowski

Meaning: Someone from Jankow Origin: Polish

  1. Jaworski

Meaning: Maple; someone from Jawory Origin: Polish

  1. Kaczka

Meaning: Duck Origin: Polish

  1. Kaczmarek

Meaning: Innkeeper Origin: Polish

  1. Kaminski

Meaning: Stone, rock Origin: Polish

  1. Kowalski

Meaning: Blacksmith Origin: Polish

  1. Kozlowski

Meaning: From the town of the goat Origin: Polish

  1. Król

Meaning: King Origin: Polish

  1. Kwiatkowski

Meaning: Flower; someone from Kwiatkow Origin: Polish

  1. Laska

Meaning: Grace, mercy Origin: Polish

  1. Lewandowski

Meaning: Lavender Origin: Polish

  1. Majewski

Meaning: Someone from Majewo Origin: Polish

  1. Malinowski

Meaning: Raspberry; someone from Malinow in Poland or Malinov in Ukraine Origin: Slavic

  1. Nosek

Meaning: Small nose Origin: Polish

  1. Nowak

Meaning: New Origin: Polish

  1. Olszewski

Meaning: Someone from Olszewo Origin: Polish

  1. Pawlak

Meaning: Little Origin: Polish

  1. Raatz

Meaning: Wise, just man; counsel, advice Origin: Polish, German

  1. Raba

Meaning: Teacher Origin: Polish

  1. Rabarchak

Meaning: Son of the rabbi Origin: Polish

  1. Rabinowitz

Meaning: Son of the rabbi Origin: Polish-Lithuanian Ashkenazi Jewish

  1. Rach

Meaning: Rough, stiff Origin: Polish, German

  1. Rachman

Meaning: Merciful Origin: Polish, Jewish

  1. Rachowski

Meaning: Someone from Rakowo Origin: Polish

  1. Racki

Meaning: Someone from Radzie in Bialystok and Suwalki voivodeships. Origin: Polish

  1. Ryba

Meaning: Fisherman Origin: Polish

  1. Sniegow

Meaning: Person from a place with snow Origin: Polish

  1. Stępień

Meaning: A plodder, someone with a slow gait Origin: Polish

  1. Szymanski

Meaning: Someone from Szymany in Konin or Lomza Voivodeships Origin: Polish

  1. Wiater

Meaning: Wind Origin: Polish

  1. Wiśniewski

Meaning: Cherry; someone from Wisniewo Origin: Polish

  1. Witkowski

Meaning: To guide the people; someone from Witkowo Origin: Polish

  1. Wojciech

Meaning: Warrior, war Origin: Polish

  1. Wojciechowski

Meaning: Someone from Wojciechowo Origin: Polish

  1. Wójcik

Meaning: Son of Wójt Origin: Polish

  1. Wozniak

Meaning: Caretaker Origin: Polish

  1. Wróbel

Meaning: Sparrow Origin: Polish

  1. Zabek

Meaning: Tooth Origin: Polish

  1. Zając

Meaning: Hare Origin: Proto-Slavic

  1. Zieliński

Meaning: Green Origin: Polish

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