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

Novak (in Serbo-Croatian and Slovene), Novák (in Hungarian, Czech and Slovak), Nowak (in German and Polish) is a Slavic name, both used as a given name and surname, derived from the word for "new" (e.g. Polish: nowy, Czech: nový, Serbo-Croatian: novo) 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] 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.

Novák is the most common surname in the Czech Republic;[2][3] Nowak is the most common surname in Poland;[4] Novak is the most common surname in Slovenia,[5] and the sixth most common in Croatia. It can also be found in Romania and Moldova in the Novac form. It is also found in Ashkenazi Jews.[6]


It is usually spelled Novák in Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian, Nowak in Polish, Novak (Cyrillic: Новак) in Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian, and Novac in Romanian. In German, it was transliterated as Nowak (German "w" pronounced as Slavic "v"). Many Americans with the surname Nowak have had it Anglicized to Novak or Novack.[citation needed]

Country specifics[edit]

During the last decades, Nowak became the most popular last name in Poland, leaving Kowalski on the second place.[citation needed] It is the most common surname (as of 2009).[4] 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. It is ranked 1st in Greater Poland Voivodeship (35,011), Silesian Voivodeship (31,838), Lesser Poland Voivodeship (23,671), Łódź Voivodeship (15,460), Lower Silesian Voivodeship (13,217), West Pomeranian Voivodeship (7,444), Opole Voivodeship (5,538), Lubusz Voivodeship (5,444), and Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship (5,538), and 2nd in Subcarpathian Voivodeship (9,301).

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

Novák is the most common surname in the Czech Republic.[2][3]

Novak is the most common surname in Slovenia with more than 11,000 sharing it.[5] There are however significant variations between regions: it is 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 is 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: 1st in the Central Slovenia Statistical Region (3,422) and Savinja Statistical Region (1,380); 2nd in the Southeast Slovenia Statistical Region (1,231) and Mura Statistical Region (1,040); 3rd in the Drava Statistical Region (1,732); 5th in the Upper Carniola Statistical Region (963) and Lower Sava Statistical Region (380); 6th in the Coastal–Karst Statistical Region (228); 8th in the Central Sava Statistical Region (192); 10th in the Carinthia Statistical Region (238); 11th in the Inner Carniola–Karst Statistical Region (228); 131st in the Gorizia Statistical Region (171).

In Croatia, Novak is the sixth most common surname.[7]

In Serbia and Montenegro, Novak is a given name, while Novaković is found as a common surname.

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]

Main article: Novak (given name)

Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Izvori priimkov. Imenoslovec prof. Pavle Merku.
  2. ^ a b Mužská příjmení - občané ČR a cizí státní příslušníci - 20 nejčetnějších
  3. ^ a b Ženská přijmení - občanky ČR a cizí státní příslušnice - 20 nejčetnějších
  4. ^ a b Statystyka najpopularniejszych nazwisk występujących w Polsce in 2009 ("The most popular surnames in Poland in 2009"). Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "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. 
  6. ^ Laurence Urdang. The Last Word: The English Language: Opinions and Prejudices. OmniData. 2008. p. 228.
  7. ^ "Most frequent surnames, Census 2011". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06.