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Title: Sedlak  
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Sedlák, Sedlak
Family name
Meaning Old Bohemian (Old Czech) for 'farmer who owns his own land' with the Indo-European root sed- 'to sit, stay'
Region of origin Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia), Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Austria
Language(s) of origin West Slavic (Polish, Czech, Slovak)
Related names Sedláček (diminutive form)

Sedlak or Sedlák may refer to:


While some common surname dictionaries published in the United States and Great Britain often define the Czech term sedlák as 'peasant,' the original meaning of the word and derived name is 'farmer who owns his own land.' The Slavic root sed- 'to sit, stay' (itself from the older Indo-European sed 'to sit, stay') is in the first part of the social class term and surname, as a landowner "sat" or stayed upon the estate. The Slavic root "sed-" is also cognate with English 'sit,' 'settle,' 'settler,' 'saddle,' (etc.). A sedlák was a freeman and a comparatively rich landowner and owned large parcels of land, while the diminutive sedláček owned a smaller portion of land. As such, the sedláky (plural) were in a social class below the nobility and above the peasants, who were usually tenant (landless) farmers and serfs. Some Sedlák families in the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdoms of Poland and Hungary were given noble status. Today in the Czech Republic, the term sedlák has more of a rustic connotation, and when not capitalized (i.e. not a surname) means 'country person;' this is the origin of the incorrect translation in many surname dictionaries, while the definition of the term in Old Bohemian is the correct one, being the most relevant, as the surname, as with most in Europe, dates from the Middle Ages.


Sedlak is the Polish form and the most common transliteration to other languages, such as English, German, and French.

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