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For the manufacturer of radio control electronic equipment, see Novak Electronics.

Nowak, Novák, Novak (Cyrillic script: Новак) or Novac (feminine Nováková) is a german name derived from the Slavic word for "new" (e.g. Czech: nový), meaning something similar to "new man", "newcomer", or "stranger" in English. The name was often given to someone who came to a new city, or a convert to Christianity. It was also used for newcomers into an army and as an occupational surname for people who used the slash-and-burn method to create new arable land - novina.[1]

Nowak is a common surname in a number of Slavic languages (one of the most popular surnames in many Slavic and Central European countries, namely Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia,[2] and Poland) and a masculine given name of Slavic origin. It can also be found in Romania and Moldova in the Novac form.


It is usually spelled:

It is pronounced almost the same way: the main difference is that in Slovene, the stress is on the last syllable, while in all other cases it is on the first one.

In the Austrian capital of Vienna, where large Czech communities settled down at the end of 19th century, Novák was Germanized to Nowak because in German the "w" is pronounced as the Czech "v".

Many Americans with the surname Nowak have had it Anglicized to Novak or Novack.

Country specifics[edit]

In Poland, it is spelled Nowak and it is the most common surname.[3] The archaic feminine version of the Polish version is Nowakowa and its plural Nowakowie. In that country, Nowakowski, Nowacki, and Nowakiewicz developed as well.

The surname "Nowak" is the most common in nine Voivodeships (administrative units) of Poland, and second in another.

There are two noble families of Polish origin with the surname Nowak.

In Croatia, Novak is the sixth most common surname.[4]

In Serbia and Montenegro, there are people that have the first name Novak. Novaković and Novakov are also common in Serbia.

Novák is the most common surname in the Czech Republic.

Novak is the most common surname in Slovenia, too, with more than 11,000 sharing it. There are however significant variations between regions: it's very common in central Slovenia (in the regions around Ljubljana and Celje), as well as in parts of southern Slovenia and eastern Slovenia (Lower Carniola, Prekmurje). It's much less common in northern and western Slovenia; in the Goriška region on the border with Italy, it is quite rare. The rank of the surname Novak in the Slovenian statistical regions:

In Germany Nowak is 159th (c. 31,000) and Noack is 270th (c. 22,000), together with different spellings c. 64,000, with some concentration in the Ruhr area, around Salzgitter and Lüchow-Dannenberg and as Noack in Lusatia.


Surnamed Novak[edit]

Surnamed Nováková[edit]

Surnamed Nowak[edit]

Personal name Novak[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

Novak transistor radio (1964).
  • Casey Novak, in Law & Order: SVU
  • Holland and Dewey Novak, characters in the television series Eureka Seven
  • Jimmy Novak, the human vessel of Castiel, an angel of the Lord, from the television series Supernatural, and Jimmy's wife Amelia and daughter Claire
  • John Novak, protagonist of the television show Mr. Novak
  • Lindsey Novak, recurring character in the Stargate Atlantis television series
  • Pat Novak, played by Jack Webb in the old-time radio program Pat Novak for Hire
  • Pat Novak, in The Novak Element in the movie Robocop
  • Vera Louise Gorman-Novak, in the television series Alice
  • Tom Nowak, in the movie Test pilota Pirxa
  • Zig Novak, character on television series Degrassi
  • Tommy Nowak, in the movie Pink Cadillac (played by Clint Eastwood)
  • James Novak, a character on the television series Scandal.

Trade mark[edit]

  • Novak is the name of a Belgian radio maker active in Brussels 1932-1965.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Database of first names and family names". Demography and Social Studies. Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. 1 January 2010. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Statystyka najpopularniejszych nazwisk występujących w Polsce in 2009 ("The most popular surnames in Poland in 2009"). Retrieved on August 19, 2013.
  4. ^ "Most frequent surnames, Census 2011". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 

See also[edit]