As a Polish girl, it can feel like the possibilities are endless when it comes to selecting a first name, but this is really not the case. Polish names have certain characteristics that make them distinct from other cultures. And while there are many different pronunciations of certain names, they all adhere to one or two basic rules.
The Basics: Polish Names in Pronunciation
There are a couple of basic rules that you will want to memorize before you try to pronounce any Polish name. The first thing that you need to know is that the letter Z is pronounced like the English letter S, and this applies to all letters starting with Z. For example, Żona would be pronounced Sona.
The second important rule is that all As in a Polish name are long (AAAA), and they are always stressed. Therefore, Anna would be pronounced AA-nah. And it’s pretty easy from there on out.
Ada is a pretty Polish variation with Germanic roots or names like Adelaide and Adeline. Ada means “nobility” in German and “adornment” in Hebrew, so it may please your little girl’s fancy to be called Ada for her charmed life.
Origin: Polish, Germanic, Hebrew
Meaning: Noble, happy
Variations: Addie, Adel, Aida, Adiah, Adina
Namesakes: Ada Sari, a Polish opera singer, actress, and educator. Ada Gabrielyan, an Armenian art teacher and painter.
Popularity: Ada is the 2,204th most popular name worldwide, with the most usage in Nigeria and the U.S.
Aleksandra is related to Alexandra, and it’s one of the most popular Polish feminine names. It means “defender of mankind” in Polish, which makes it a name full of power and grace.
Meaning: Defender of mankind
Variations: Alexandre, Alejandro, Alexandrina, Alexanderina, Alexandrean, Alexandria
Namesakes: Aleksandra Szostakiewiczowa Sienkiewiczowa was a 19th century Polish writer who used both her maiden and married names as her pen name.
If you want a traditional, old-fashioned Polish name for your daughter, Anna is the way to go. Of Greek and Latin origin, Anna means “gracious” in Greek and “favor” in Latin. Both names hold equal meaning: a person who bestows grace onto others through their kind nature. It’s a name that truly embodies its owners.
Origin: Polish, Greek, Latin
Meaning: Grace, favor
Variations: Ann, Anne, Anya, Hana, Hannah
Namesakes: Saint Anna is the patron saint of Russia. Anna is also the name of several other saints including one from Poland who drugged herself to death after being forced to marry a pagan. (She was canonized in 2001.) Anna is also the name of several queens throughout history including Anne Boleyn who was King Henry VIII’s second wife and one of his most ruthless executioners.
Antonina is a Polish version of the name Antonia and it’s a mid-range rarity, but it has a lot of personality. Many parents use this name because they like the sound of it or they like its close association with Antonia.
Origin: Polish, Latin
Meaning: Gracious; Favorite
Variations: Antonella, Antonello, Antoinette, Anastasia, Anastazja
Namesakes: St. Antonina was a 12th century saint from Italy who founded the order of the Servants of Mary and lived with her mother until she died. The late Antonia Gorney, a nun and the sister of author Charles Gorney, was the founder of Little Sisters of the Poor. Antonina is also the name of a department store in Poland.
5. Anna Radziszewska
Anna is one of Poland’s most popular names, and her version from a Polish place name means “the Holy” in Polish. If your surname is Radziszewski or Radzinski, she may choose to use your last name as her first one so that you can be Anna Radożyślska or Anna Radziszewska-Radzinski.
Meaning: Holy, saintly
Pronunciation: AHN-nah raht-zis-CHEV-skaa
Variations: Nana, Nanna, Ania, Anica, Anika, Aniaśka, Anni
Namesakes: Anna Radziwiłow was a Polish scientist who invented the first practical liquid fuel rocket. Anna Przyborowska was another Polish scientist who created the first non-invasive blood pressure monitor. She was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986 and is known as one of Poland’s “most beloved daughters.”
Irmina is a Polish place name meaning “spring” in Polish, and it’s a popular choice for parents who want to use this traditional first name for their daughters. It’s easy to remember as well since it starts with the letter I (pronounced ee or I).
Pronunciation: EER-mee-nah Pronunciations: Eryka, Eryka, Yriece, Yriecka, Irina
Namesakes: Irmina Morgenstern was a mathematician and chess player. Irmina von Schmidt was a German opera singer. And Irmine von Stein was a Danish writer.
Iwona is a combination of the Germanic elements Eiw (I) and Wunna (O). It’s used as both a surname and first name in Poland today. The name means “joy” in Polish and is a popular choice for parents who want to give their daughters a name that’s both traditional and upbeat.
Pronunciation: EE-oh-noona Pronunciations: Eoja, Eojae, Wejca, Uwieca
Namesakes: Iwona was the goddess of love in Slavic mythology. It’s also the name of several other ancient, classic names such as Benius and Iwona.
Iza is a Polish name meaning “to be seen” in Polish. It’s a popular choice for parents who want to use this traditional first name for their daughter. Parents often choose to use Iza as a short form of Izabella, a Spanish and German name meaning “God is beautiful.”
Meaning: To be seen
Pronunciation: EE-sah Pronunciations: Eso, Eszoea, Ishiea, Izeyka, Yzae
Namesakes: Iza was the wife of Pontius Pilate who was notorious for her many trials and tribulations with her husband and the Roman people. Iza was also the name of a 17th century Polish poet.
Justyna is a Polish surname meaning “the just one” in Polish and it has been used as both a first name and middle name since the 16th century. If parents are looking for a traditional first name or short form, they may choose to use Justyna as her middle name.
Meaning: The just one Pronunciation: EE-shoo-nah Pronunciations: Jutka, Yutka, Yuuka, Jutkew
Namesakes: Justina was the daughter of Emperor Constantine VII who led her people out of serfdom in the 11th century. Justina was also the name of a 14th century Polish poet and saint.
Karolina is a Polish name meaning “comrade” in Polish. It’s used as both a first name and middle name in Poland today, and many parents like to use it for their daughters because it’s not too difficult to pronounce and it sounds beautiful when said with stress on the first syllable. This is one of those names that parents often choose to use as a short form of Karolina or Katarzyna, both traditional names meaning “Carolius” which are also heavily used for girls all over the U.S., especially in Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri.
Meaning: The comrade Pronunciation: KAHR-oh-nee-yah Pronunciations: Karolina, Karoline, Karole, Koralina
Namesakes: Dr. Carolyne Wright was a U.S. academic who developed the first electric breast pump and invented the dental flosser as well as many other inventions that helped women to manage their health at the turn of the century. Katarzyna Szymanska was one of Poland’s first female physicians who co-founded a group that went on to become one of Poland’s first medical aid societies in 1792.
Łucja could be a stand-alone name, or it could be a short form of Łucja, a Polish given name meaning “light.” This is one of the top 10 most popular names in Poland today and it’s easy to pronounce and beautiful when said with stress on the second syllable.
Meaning: The light.
Pronunciation: LOO-shah Pronunciations: Lulyanka, Lochanza
Namesakes: Łucja was the mother of Saint Stanisław Kostka and patron saint of Poland. Łucja Kaczyńska was another Polish princess and a significant influence on the revolutionary movement during the 18th century. And Łucja Kulczyńska was a powerful woman in 18th century Poland who founded one of Poland’s first hospitals.
Małgorzata is a Polish name meaning “the greatest in glory.” It’s very popular in Poland today, and since it’s easy to pronounce and features only one syllable for each letter, it could be a great choice for parents who want to give their daughter a trendy Polish first name.
Meaning: The greatest in glory Pronunciation: MAHL-go-zahta Pronunciations: Malgosia, Malgosja, Manya, Manyeta
Namesakes: Małgorzata was the queen of Poland who helped to unify her people during the 13th century. She was also an accomplished artist, creating illuminated manuscripts during her spare time.
Małgorzata is a Polish variation on the name Margaret, which comes from the Greek Margarites meaning “pearl.” This name is one of the 10 most popular names in Poland today, and it’s easy to pronounce and beautiful when said with stress on the second syllable. It could also be a great choice for parents who want to give their daughter a trendy Polish first name that’s easy to pronounce and spell when used as a short form.
Monika is a Polish name meaning “my soul” in Polish. It’s pronounced MON-ee-kah and it might be a great choice for parents who want to use this traditional Polish first name for their daughter.
Meaning: My soul Pronunciation: MAHN-yah Pronunciations: Monya, Monika, Manya
Pronunciation: MON-ee-kah Pronunciations: Monya, Monika, Manya
Namesakes: Monika was the princess of Poland and a prominent figure in Polish history during the 14th century. Monika Kaczmarska was a Polish painter and socialist activist who struggled with her art during World War I. And Monika Lewandowska was one of Poland’s most acclaimed writers, translators and poets.
Natalia is a Polish name meaning “the slandered one” in Polish. It’s pronounced NAAH-tah-lee-ah, and it’s a popular choice for parents who want to use a traditional Polish first name for their daughter.
Meaning: The slandered one Pronunciation: NAH-ta-lee-ah Pronunciations: Natalya, Nataliya, Natalya, Natalia
Namesakes: Princess Natalia Radziwiłłowicz was the wife of King Stanisław August Poniatowski of Poland. She was an accomplished poet and philanthropist who gave all her possessions to the poor after suffering a tragic accident out on the sea with her husband in the 18th century. Natalia was also the name of a 17th century Polish princess who was very influential in the affairs of her country and known for her kindness.
Olga is a Polish name that means “the blond” in Polish. It’s pronounced OOH-lah and is one of the top 10 most popular names in Poland today.
Meaning: The blond Pronunciation: OOH-lah Pronunciations: Olga, Olgusha, Iolka
Namesakes: Olga was a princess of Poland who was daughter of King Władysław II Jagiełło and the sister of Saint Hedwig of Kalisz. She lived during the 14th century and helped her prince with governing Poland during crucial times. And Olga Rudge was one of the Englishwomen who came to live in Poland at the end of World War II, and then went on to become one of the first female doctors in Europe after World War II.
Oliwia is a Polish name meaning “the green” in Polish. It’s pronounced OHL-ee-yah, and it’s used among Poles today as an alternative to the traditional Olga name.
Meaning: The green Pronunciation: OHL-ee-yah Pronunciations: Olekha, Olya, Olga, Iola
Namesakes: Princess Ołowia Radziwiłł was the daughter of King Władysław II Jagiełło and the sister of Saint Hedwig of Kalisz. She lived during the 14th century and helped her prince with governing Poland during crucial times. And Olga Rudge was one of the Englishwomen who came to live in Poland at the end of World War II, and then went on to become one of the first female doctors in Europe after World War II.
Piotr is a Polish name meaning “Peter” in Polish. It’s pronounced PEET-uhr and could be a great choice for parents who want to give their daughter a trendy Polish first name. It sounds beautiful when said with stress on the first syllable because it brings to mind images of geniuses, artists, intellectuals and people that have accomplished great things in life.
Meaning: Peter Pronunciation: PEET-uhr Pronunciations: Petar, Peter, Pierre
Namesakes: Pope Pius V was born in Poland and served as the head of the Catholic Church from 1566 to 1572. He’s well-known for ordering an audit of the accounts of his predecessor, Pope Paul IV, and for his initiation of the Tridentine Mass. And Polish painter Piotr Norblin created many canvases during the 19th century that are now considered masterpieces in art history.
Renata is a Polish name meaning “the reborn” in Polish. It’s pronounced REN-uh-tah, and it’s one of the most popular names in Poland today.
Meaning: The reborn Pronunciation: REN-uh-tah Pronunciations: Renata, Renata, Natalja, Natalija
Namesakes: Renata Justyna Kuczkowska was a Polish dancer who was known for her great beauty. She and her husband were very well known for their friendship with Chopin and their love for horses during the first part of the 19th century. And Renata may be Polish for Regina, but it’s different because there are few similarities between the two names.
Teresa is a Polish name meaning “the friar” in Polish. It’s pronounced TEE-dah, and it’s used by Poles today as an alternative to the popular Beatrice name.
Meaning: The friar Pronunciation: TEE-dah Pronunciations: Tita, Tetka, Tatyusha, Tatyusha
Namesakes: Teresa was the daughter of Poland’s King Bolesław I the Bold and his wife, Dobrawa of Mazovia. She was born sometime between 956 and 967. She was one of the first women in recorded history to work as a scribe and is considered the world’s first professional writer. And Teresa Wielgus is a Polish professor who struggled with her beautiful language for many years until she found an audience for her art.