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The Best English Words in the Polish Language

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English did not become a popular language in Poland until somewhat recently, due to the country’s political situation until the late 80s. Since then, English has been slowly winning the hearts of Poles. The term we use to describe English words used in Polish, whether modified or non-modified, is anglicyzm (“anglicism“). What about Polish words in English, you may wonder? Keep reading to find out.

Today, English vocabulary is ever-present in the Polish language. English terms and expressions are used particularly often in the Polish corporate world. Learning these words is an easy hack to quickly expand your Polish vocabulary and help you sound more natural when speaking Polish.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Polish Table of Contents
  1. English Words Made Polish
  2. How Do I Say it in Polish?
  3. Common Polish Words in English
  4. Final Thoughts

English Words Made Polish 

Let’s start with English words in Polish that have been modified to sound or look more Polish. These words are divided into two groups: 

1. Those that retain their original English meaning
2. Those that may look or sound similar to English words, but actually carry a different meaning

Shared Meaning

Firstly, we should have a look at loanwords and anglicisms in Polish that have the same meaning as the English words they’re derived from. Don’t be fooled by the spelling! 

  • dżinsy – jeans
  • dżersey – jersey
  • lewisy – Levi’s
  • bobslej – bobsleigh
  • forhend / bekhend – forehand / backhand
  • mecz – match
  • budżet – budget
  • flesz – flash
  • komputer – computer

An Angry Man with Steam Coming Out of His Ears
  • ksero – Xerox
  • wideo – video
  • lider – leader
  • menedżer – manager
  • stres – stress
  • chipsy / czipsy – chips
  • celebryci – celebrities

As you can see, you can find these words in many different areas of life, from clothing to technology. All of these English words in Polish are commonly used, even if linguists and Polish language specialists aren’t always happy about it. 

Beware of These Words

Knowing English words in Polish can be extremely useful, but you should bear in mind that some words with English etymology have a different meaning than the one you’d guess:

  • adidasy
    A Pair of Sneakers
    This word comes from the activewear brand Adidas. However, the word adidasy is used in a more general sense to mean “sneakers.” So if you hear a Polish person use this word, it tells you nothing about the brand the person is talking about. Take this sentence for example:

    Muszę sobie kupić nowe adidasy. (“I need to get myself sneakers.”)
  • pampersy

    This word is derived from the Pampers brand of diapers. Just like adidasy, however, its Polish meaning is wide and it refers to diapers in general.

    Want to expand your vocabulary even more? You can find some Polish Expressions Used for Children on our website.
  • wazelina

    Here’s yet another name on our list that comes from a brand name: Vaseline. No surprises when it comes to the meaning: it refers to petroleum jelly products in general, and not specifically to those produced by the Vaseline brand.

  • drin(k)

    When you ask someone, “Would you like a drink?” in English, it may refer to an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. In Polish, the word drin(k) only refers to a cocktail.

  • grill 

    The English word “grill” is both a noun that describes the barbecue grill and a verb referring to the act of using the barbecue. In Polish, grill may refer to a barbecue grill or to a social event equivalent to a barbecue:

    Poszliśmy wczoraj na grilla do Marka. (“We went to a barbecue at Marek’s yesterday.”)

    As it’s topical, here are some Polish Recipes for Fluency!

As you can see, the meaning of these similar words in Polish and English can sometimes be difficult to predict. Not knowing the right one may cause confusion, but fortunately, this article can help you avoid many linguistic traps!

How Do I Say it in Polish?

You’re now familiar with many English words used in Polish, but what happens with things like celebrity names, brands, or movie titles? 


Famous People

A Famous Actress on the Red Carpet Giving Autographs

You’ve been learning Polish, so you probably know by now that many words and parts of speech undergo declension—including names and surnames. Have a look at what happens to the name of famous Polish actor Marek Kondrat: 

  • Marek Kondrat to świetny aktor. – “Marek Kondrat is a great actor.”
  • Jaki jest twój ulubiony film z Markiem Kondratem? – “What’s your favorite movie with Marek Kondrat?”
  • Nigdy nie słyszałem o Marku Kondracie! – “I’ve never heard about Marek Kondrat!”

As you can see, both the name and surname change form depending on the case needed in a given sentence. Foreign names and surnames undergo similar changes: 

  • Czekam na nowy film z Tomem Hanksem! – “I’m waiting for the new movie with Tom Hanks.”
  • Mój tata słucha Stinga, ale ja wolę Elvisa Presleya. – “My dad listens to Sting, but I prefer Elvis Presley.”

Be careful, though! Not all names undergo such changes, particularly when it comes to foreign female names: 

  • Słucham Johnnego Casha/Pitbulla/Louisa Armstronga. – “I listen to Johnny Cash/Pitbull/Louis Armstrong.”
  • Słucham Missy Elliot/Taylor Swift/Jennifer Lopez. – “I listen to Missy Elliot/Taylor Swift/Jennifer Lopez.”

We’ve shown you how to say the names of foreign singers in Polish. Do you know anything about Polish musicians, though? If not, check out our series about the Top 10 Polish Musicians.

Foreign Brands

Both foreign and local brands usually undergo declension in the Polish language. Here are some examples: 

  • Lubię Nike’a. – “I like Nike.”
  • Jadę do Marksa i Spencera. – “I’m going to Marks & Spencer.”
  • Kupiłam sobie nowego iPhone’a. – “I bought myself a new iPhone.”
  • Miałem już 5 Samsungów i zawsze byłem z nich zadowolony. – “I’ve had 5 Samsungs and I’ve always been happy with them.”
  • Ta sukienka jest z Zary, a nie z H&M-u. – “This dress is from Zara and not H&M.”

Do you know how to talk about your favorite clothing items in Polish? If not, check out our vocabulary lesson on clothes.

Clothes Hanging on a Rack

Do listen closely to what native speakers say, because there are some exceptions when it comes to the declension of brand names:

Uwielbiam robić zakupy w Mango! – “I love shopping at Mango!”

What’s the Name of This Movie in Polish?

A Woman at the Movies Holding Popcorn and a Drink

English movie titles are usually translated. Nevertheless, very popular movies and series are sometimes referred to by their English names or acronyms. For instance, you could say “Star Wars” or Gwiezdne Wojny as well as “LOTR” or Władca Pierścieni. Science-fiction and fantasy fans, in particular, often refer to movies and series by their English names. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re always understood by the general population.

When it comes to movie translations, many are quite straightforward. If you know the right word in Polish, you can simply try your luck at translating a movie title:

  • Ojciec Chrzestny – “The Godfather
  • Kasyno – “Casino”
  • Szczęki – “Jaws”

Movie titles with proper nouns usually remain unchanged. Some good examples are Titanic, Pearl Harbor, and Jackie Brown.

Unfortunately, translations are sometimes far from the original English title. You may be better off trying to describe the plot or cast of the movie you’re referring to. Have a look at some examples of this phenomenon: 

  • Za wszelką cenę means “at any cost” in Polish, but the English title is Million Dollar Baby.
  • Skazany na śmierć is “sentenced to death” in Polish, but this is the title given to the series Prison Break.
  • Szklana Pułapka means “glass trap” and it’s the Polish title for the Mission Impossible series.
  • Elektryczny morderca is one of the most famous movie (mis)translations in Polish. It means “Electric Murderer” and this title was given to the first Terminator movie. 

Do you like going to the cinema? It’s much more fun when you have company! If you don’t know how to invite someone to see a movie, see our vocabulary lesson for Offering an Invitation

Common Polish Words in English

You’ve learned quite a bit today about English words used in Polish. We’re sure you’d like to know now whether there are also some common Polish words in English. The answer to this question is both yes and no. While you won’t find that many English words of Polish origin, there’s at least one word that comes from Polish indirectly:

  • Gherkin

    This word was first borrowed from a Slavic language, likely from the Polish word ogórek (“cucumber”), and entered the German language as Gurke. After that, English took over the German word, calling it what we know today as “gherkin.”

A Cucumber That’s Half-sliced

Polish cuisine has also become well-known in other countries thanks to Polish migrants. Polish dish names are among the most common Polish words used in English. Some of them retain their Polish form (pierogi) while others become an anglicised version of the Polish word (barszcz – “borscht”). To learn more about Polish cuisine, remember to visit our lesson “10 Polish Foods.”

You should also know that second-generation Polish immigrants often use Polish words in English. They do this especially when communicating with representatives of their community. Such use of common Polish words in English is part of a language phenomenon known as Poglish

Final Thoughts

In this article, you’ve learned about the most common English words in the Polish language. We have also discussed linguistic traps, how to pronounce famous names in Polish, and how Polish cuisine has affected the English language. This information can help you better communicate with native Polish speakers and sound more like a native yourself!

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot more ground to cover. What you really need is a structured, well-designed approach to Polish learning—and that’s exactly what you’ll find on the PolishPod101 platform.

Deepen your knowledge of the Polish language and culture with countless lessons and recordings from native speakers. Start your free trial today and explore all of our website’s functionalities! You’ll love our word bank, dictionary, and array of other learning tools. 

Don’t go yet! If you happen to know some more common Polish words used in English, let us know in the comments!

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