The country Poland got its name after the word ‘Polanie,’ which means ‘people living in open fields.’ Just as the word ‘Poland’ has a deeper meaning, Polish last names are also thoughtful and have great significance. They are mostly derived either from nicknames or the names of a place or region (toponymic).
Polish toponymic surnames are influenced by ‘ski’, ‘cki,’ or ‘dzki,’ which means ‘of’ or ‘belong to.’ Using ‘ski’ or ‘cki’ in the names is the most identifiable and common pattern of Polish family names.
This post has compiled a list of Polish surnames, their meanings, origins, and variants.
List Of Popular Polish Last Names Or Family Names:
Adamik is very common Polish surname which refers to ‘a man’ in Hebrew.
This patronymic polish surname refers to ‘Son of Andrzej.’ Here, Andrzej is the Polish form of Andrew, which means ‘manly’ or ‘masculine.’
Bartosz is the Polish form of Bartholomew, which refers to ‘Son of Talmai’ or ‘Son of Furrows.’ Bartholomew was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Furrows are grooves made in the soil with a plow before planting the seeds.
Derived from the Slavic word bosu, Bosko means ‘barefoot.’
This Polish surname is derived from ‘Ambrozy,’ ‘Ambrosius’ or ‘Ambrose’ that means ‘immortal.’
It is derived from the Polish word ‘brzezina’ referring to ‘birch forest.’
Budny is a Polish last name derived from the word ‘buda’ that means ‘hut’ or ‘cabin.’
Bukoski is a spelling variant of ‘Bukowski’ and a toponymic last name denoting someone who belonged to a town called ‘Bukowo’ or ‘Bukowiec.’
This Polish surname is derived from the word called ‘buk’ referring to ‘beech.’ Another reference suggests that it is a variant of Bukoski, a locational surname referring to ‘someone who came from ‘Bukowo’ or ‘Bukowiec.’
Chlebek is an occupational Polish last name derived from the word ‘chleb’ that means ‘bread.’
Another occupational last name, Chmiel is derived from the word ‘chmel’ referring to ‘hops.’ Chmiel is someone who engaged in growing ‘hops’ which is a plant used in brewing beer.
This interesting family name refers to a ‘lapwing bird’ in Polish.
It is a locational or toponymic last name referring to people who belong to the village of ‘Czajkow’ or any other place with a name starting with the word ‘Czajk’. The word ‘Czajk’ itself is derived from the Polish word ‘Czajka’ which means a ‘lapwing bird.’
Derived from the name of a town called ‘Dubinowo,’ Dubanowski is a toponymic Polish last name often of those who were the original inhabitants of the town.
Another toponymic last name Dubicki is derived from the name of a town called Dubica located in Poland.
This Polish surname is derived from the name of a river called the Danube. ‘Dunaj’ is the Polish name for the river Danube.
Dziedzic refers to ‘landowner’ in Polish.
Fabian is derived from the word ‘faba,’ which means a ‘bean’ in Latin. Fabian was also the name of a popular 3rd century Pope.
It is derived from ‘Filip’ or ‘Philip,’ which means ‘a friend of horses’ or ‘horse lover’ in Greek.
This is a toponymic Polish surname derived from the name of a Polish town ‘Filipow.’
Gajus is a Polish last name derived from the word ‘gaj’ which means ‘grove’ or ‘thicket.’
This last name is derived from the word ‘gniew’ which means ‘anger’ in Polish.
A unique Polish surname derived from Gomolka, which is a type of ‘round cheese.’
Gorecki is derived from a Polish word ‘gora’ that means ‘a mountain’. Gorka is also the name of many towns in Poland, thus making ‘Gorecki’ a toponymic last name.
Gorka is a variant of ‘Gorecki’ and a toponymic Polish surname which is derived from the name of several towns in Poland.
Gorski is derived from the Polish word ‘gora’ which means ‘a mountain.’
This Polish last name is derived from the word ‘Grzegorz’, which itself is derived from the Latin word ‘Gregorius’. A variation of Gregorius is ‘Gregory,’ which in Greek means ‘someone who is watchful.’
Derived from the Polish word ‘gwozdz’, which refers to a nail’ (metal nail).
This Polish surname refers to ‘berries.’
Janda is derived from ‘Jan’, ‘Johannes’ or ‘John,’ which mean ‘Yahweh is gracious’ in Hebrew.
A spelling variant of Janowski, this Polish surname is a toponymic last name derived from the name of a town called ‘Jankowo’ or ‘Jankow’.
This is a variant of Jaskulski, derived from the name of Polish villages and towns named Jaskolki. Jaskolki is itself derived from the word ‘Jaskolka,’ which means the bird swallow in Polish.
This last name means the ‘only child’ in Polish.
Jelen originated in the Czech Republic, and the surname refers to ‘a stag.’
This Polish surname refers to ‘a hedgehog’ in Polish.
This Polish family name refers to ‘a duck’ in Polish.
Kaluza means ‘puddle’ in the Polish language.
It is derived from the word ‘kamien’ referring to ‘a stone.’ The surname likely refers to someone from any of the several villages and towns named Kamien in Poland.
It originates from the name Kasper/Kacper, which originates from an ancient Persian word ‘Gizbar.’ Gizbar means a ‘treasurer.’
This last name is derived from the word ‘kawka’ meaning the bird ‘jackdaw’ in Polish.
Kedzierski is derived from ‘kedzior,’ which in Polish means a ‘lock of hair.’ Kedzierski is a nickname often given to ‘curly-haired’ people, and the word eventually evolved into a Polish surname.
This last name is derived from the word ‘kij’ which means ‘stick’ or ‘small stick’ in Polish.
It is derived from Klemens or Clement, and. ‘Clement’ means ‘merciful’ in Latin.
This Polish surname is derived from the Polish word ‘kosmaty’ referring to ‘shaggy’ or ‘hairy.’
It is derived from the Polish word ‘kowal’ that means ‘a blacksmith.’ Thus, it is an occupational surname.
Koziel is a variant of Koziol referring to ‘a male goat’ in Polish.
This is toponymic Polish surname derived from the name of towns called ‘Kozlow’ or ‘Kozlowo’ located in Poland.
This is a toponymic Polish surname referring to the name of the city called Krakow in Poland.
This surname is derived from the word ‘Krol,’ which in Polish means king. It was often used as an occupational surname for those who worked in the king’s household.
The name is derived from the Polish word ‘Kum,’ which means ‘godfather’ or a ‘crony.’ The word crony means a close pal.
Laska refers to ‘grace’ or ‘mercy’ in the Polish language.
This Polish surname is derived from the word ‘lawnik’ referring to ‘alderman,’ which means a municipal councillor.
It originated from a nickname for a sly person since Lis refers to the animal ‘fox’ in Polish.
It is derived from the Polish word ‘maj,’ meaning the month of May. The surname could also refer to someone from any of the various villages and towns named Majewo in Poland.
This Polish surname is derived from the word ‘malina’ which means ‘raspberry.’ Malinowski could also be the toponymic family name of the people belonging to places whose name starts with ‘Malinów,’ which means ‘missing.’
Maly originated as a last name from the Polish word for ‘small.’
Marek was derived from ‘Mark,’ which was taken from the name of Saint Mark. In the New Testament, Saint Mark was the author of the second gospel.
This Polish surname means ‘Marshall,’ which could refer to a court, military or government official of high rank.
This surname means ‘buttermilk’ in Polish. It likely suggests an occupational origin of the surname for those who worked in dairy or production of buttermilk.
Mencher is an occupational Polish surname derived from the word ‘maczarz,’ also spelled mlynarz, which refers to ‘a miller’ or a ‘flour dealer.’
This Polish last name means ‘pulp’ or ‘crush.’
It means ‘mortar’ in Polish, referring to someone who worked with mortar or sold mortar.
It is derived from the word ‘must.’ Musial is an interesting Polish last name meaning ‘one who has to’ or ‘one who had to.’
Niemec means ‘German’ in Polish which could mean that this surname migrated to Poland and refers to people who came from Germany.
This last name means a ‘small nose’ in both Polish and Czech languages.
A variant of ‘Novak,’ this last name is derived from the word ‘nowy’ meaning ‘new.’
Derived from the Polish word ‘ostrow,’ this last name refers to ‘water island’ or a ‘water meadow.’
This is a toponymic Polish last name referring to people who belonged to a town called ‘Pakuly’, located in Poland.
This last name refers to ‘parsnip,’ a root vegetable similar to carrot.
This Polish surname is derived from the Latin word ‘Paulus,’ referring to ‘small’ or ‘little.’
It is derived from the word ‘piaty’ referring to ‘fifth.’ The name could also be taken from ‘Piatek,’ which means ‘Friday’ in Polish.
The toponymic surname refers to someone from any of the Polish towns with names beginning with ‘Piotrow,’ for example ‘Piotrow,’ ‘Piotrowo’ or ‘Piotrowice.’
Pokorny possibly originated in the Czech Republic and means ‘humble.’
It is a toponymic surname for a person from any of the various places named Poplawy in Poland. This surname is derived from the word ‘poplaw’, which means ‘flowing water’ or ‘flood.’
This Polish surname means ‘animal horn.’ It could also refer to someone whose occupation was to blow the horn.
It is a variant of Rudawski, a locational surname referring to people who lived near the river Rudawa in Poland.
It is an ethnic name for ‘Russian’ and refers to people who migrated from Russia to Poland.
This is a toponymic Polish family name referring to people belonging to any of the various places called Rutki in Poland.
The occupational surname means ‘fish,’ and refers to fisherman or sellers of fish.
Sadowski is a toponymic Polish surname referring to someone who belonged to ‘Sadowo’ or ‘Sadowice’ in Poland. Another reference is derived from the Polish word ‘sad’ meaning ‘garden’ or ‘orchard.’
This last name is derived from the Biblical word ‘serafim’ that originated in Hebrew. It translates to the ‘fiery ones.’
Sikora refers to a small bird called ‘titmouse.’ The surname is derived from a nickname for a small and dark person.
It refers to ‘a fine sieve’ and is derived from the word ‘sito’ which means ‘sieve.’
This last name refers to a ‘rock’ and denotes that the first bearer of this surname likely lived around a prominent rock.
This is an occupational surname derived from ‘slusarz’, which means a ‘locksmith.’
Smolak is derived from the word ‘smola’ referring to ‘pitch.’ Thus, it is an occupational Polish last name which refers to a ‘distiller of a pitch’ where ‘pitch’ is a liquid resembling coal tar.
It is derived from the word ‘Snieg’ which means ‘snow’ thus likely referring to someone who lives around snow.
This name is derived from the word ‘sobol,’ which is a type of marten – a wild animal. It is an occupational last name for a ‘fur trader.’
A toponymic last name for someone who belongs to any of the various places called Sokolow in Poland. Sokolow itself is derived from the word Sokol, which refers to a falcon.
It is derived from the Polish word ‘sowa’ referring to an ‘owl.’
Starek is derived from the word ‘stary’ meaning ‘old.’ This name originated as a nickname and later evolved into a surname.
It means ‘foreman’ or a ‘leader’ in Polish.
This Polish occupational last name refers to ‘a shoemaker’.
It is derived from ‘Szwed,’ which itself means ‘Swede,’ that is, a person from Sweden.
Another toponymic last name, Warszawaski refers to someone who belonged to the city of Warsaw situated in Poland.
This Polish surname is derived from the name of ‘crow.’
It is a toponymic name deriving from various places named Wyrzyki in Poland.
This Polish toponymic last name is derived from the name of several towns named Zduny. Another reference also suggests Zdunowski could be an occupational surname, derived from ‘zdun’ referring to ‘a potter.’
It is derived from the word ‘zimowy’ meaning ‘winter.’ Zima was the nickname of people with a chilly or frosty personality. It later evolved as a Polish last name.
It means ‘crane.’ It is a nickname for a tall person. Eventually, the nickname evolved into a Polish surname.
Learning about Polish surnames is wonderful, whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or just want to understand more about Poland. Polish surnames were only officially inherited about 200 years ago. Most of the Polish surnames, including Bartosz, Chlebek, Dubanowski, a toponymic Polish surname Filipowski, Gniewek, Grzeskowiak, Ostrowski, Rog, and Serafin have meanings and histories that might help you learn more about Polish culture and tribes. So go ahead and read through the surnames so that you may impress others with your knowledge of Poland when the chance presents itself.