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From nazwać (to call) +‎ -isko (place-forming suffix).[1] The use of the place suffix is due to the fact that last names used to be based on one's city of origin or residence.[2] First attested in 1559.[3] Compare Kashubian nôzwëstkò, Ukrainian на́звисько (názvysʹko), and Silesian nazwisko.


  • IPA(key): /naˈzvis.kɔ/
  • (Middle Polish) IPA(key): /nazˈvis.kɔ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iskɔ
  • Syllabification: na‧zwis‧ko


nazwisko n (related adjective nazwiskowy)

  1. surname, last name (name a person shares with other members of that person's family, distinguished from that person's given name(s); a family name)
    Synonym: godność
    Coordinate term: imię
    mieć na nazwiskoto be called (literally, “to have as a surname”)
  2. name (person famous or an authority in some field)
  3. (obsolete) name (that by which someone calls something)
    Synonyms: miano, nazwa, określenie
  4. (Middle Polish) nickname (term that is not the real name for something)
    Synonym: przezwisko


Derived terms[edit]



According to Słownik frekwencyjny polszczyzny współczesnej (1990), nazwisko is one of the most used words in Polish, appearing 15 times in scientific texts, 17 times in news, 18 times in essays, 24 times in fiction, and 19 times in plays, each out of a corpus of 100,000 words, totaling 93 times, making it the 680th most common word in a corpus of 500,000 words.[4]


  1. ^ Boryś, Wiesław (2005) “zwać”, in Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego (in Polish), Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, →ISBN
  2. ^ Bańkowski, Andrzej (2000) “nazwisko”, in Etymologiczny słownik języka polskiego [Etymological Dictionary of the Polish Language] (in Polish)
  3. ^ Maria Renata Mayenowa, Stanisław Rospond, Witold Taszycki, Stefan Hrabec, Władysław Kuraszkiewicz (2010-2023) “nazwisko”, in Słownik Polszczyzny XVI Wieku [A Dictionary of 16th Century Polish]
  4. ^ Ida Kurcz (1990) “nazwisko”, in Słownik frekwencyjny polszczyzny współczesnej [Frequency dictionary of the Polish language]‎[1] (in Polish), volume 1, Kraków, Warszawa: Polska Akademia Nauk. Instytut Języka Polskiego, page 278

Further reading[edit]