Kowalski (Polish pronunciation: [kɔˈvalskʲi]; feminine: Kowalska, plural Kowalscy) is the second most common surname in Poland (140,471 people in 2009). Kowalski translates to smith's son, as it is the patronymic form of the Polish equivalent of Smith, "Kowal" (see the Polish surname Kowal and the Ukrainian surname Koval). Several other surnames, such as Kowalczyk, Kowalewski, and Kowalewicz, are also derived from the word Kowal. "Jan Kowalski" is a popular name that is used as a placeholder name in Poland, similar to "John Smith", its rough English-language equivalent, in English-speaking countries (though a more direct translation would be "John Smithson").
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