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Pilat is a common surname in Central Europe.[1] It is spelled simply Pilat in Western countries such as France and Austria, Pilát in Czech and Slovak, and Piłat in Polish. This may refer to individuals bearing the last name or the name itself.

The Southeast corner of Poland appears to be an ancestral heartland, with Lublin boasting a large number of the nearly 6,879 Poles sharing the surname. There are two different Piłatka localities in the Mazowsze and Lublin regions.

It is also the name of a natural park near Lyon in France.


  • German: from the Saxon word for 'strong sword', or bilihart. (Bihel = sword or ax.)
  • French: habitational name from Pilat in Gironde, The Great Dune of Pyla in La Côte-d'Or, and Mont Pilat in Loire. The name is believed to be derived by one of two tribes of Celtic peoples - the Séguisaves and Allobroges in whose language Pi- = mount and -lat = broad.[2]
  • Italian: in ancient Rome, a pilum was a throwing spear carried by the legionnaires. Another theory of Pontius Pilate's origin is that he belonged to the Equestrian class of people.
  • Slavic (Czech, Slovak and Polish): an individual acting/portraying the character of Pontius Pilate, particularly in a Passion play. A popular misconception is that, spelling differences aside, the historical figure of Pontius Pilate is somehow the progenitor of this last name. In actuality, he hailed from a Roman tribe properly called the Pontii?[3]


  • Pilate
  • Pilati
  • Pilatz

"Bucket shops" purporting to sell Pilat 'family coats of arms' (a fallacy in terms) often draw spurious connections to those escutcheons (and histories) properly belonging to the counts Pielat, Pilati or Pillot of the Netherlands, Austria and France, respectively.[citation needed]

Persons with the surname Pilat[edit]

  • Andrzej Piłat is the current Polish minister of infrastructure of the SLD (Democratic Left Alliance) - from Płock.
  • Bill Pilat is a lacrosse coach at Roanoke College, with the winningest record at Roanoke College
  • Corrado Pilat is an Italian rugby union player.
  • Dirk Pilat is the Senior Economist at the OECD born and educated in The Netherlands.
  • Ignaz Anton Pilat was the landscape architect for Frederick Law Olmsted to Central Park and an Austrian émigré.
  • Jozef Anton Edler von Pilat was the private secretary to Prinz Klemenz von Metternich.
  • Julia Pilat is an upstate New York public school teacher previously featured in US Army television commercials.
  • Lorenzo Pilat is an Italian composer and singer, as well as previous collaborator with Tom Jones.
  • Ludmilla Pilat-Welch was an early American painter and also an Austrian émigré.
  • Oliver Ramsay Pilat was a newspaper man (NY Post) & author.
  • Richard Pilat is a Swedish classical pianist.
  • Stanisław Piłat was head of the Institute of Technology of Petroleum and Natural Gases and patentholder at Lviv University, Ukraine who was killed by the Nazi secret police during World War II.
  • Tadeusz Piłat was an author and historian of Poland and the father of Stanisław.
  • Vaclav Pilàt was a Czech national who flew in World War I for the Austro-Hungarian air force.


External links[edit]