“Wola” in place names – what it stands for

Wola – in old Polish, the word’s meaning was identical to that of “freedom”. Therefore, the word “wola” became a part of a name for a piece of empty land given to settlers for a certain number of years, one on which they did not have to do any service for a local lord and were not bound by rent or villeinage. The second part of such a place name was derived from the main village next to which it was located. [i.e. Jasienica vs Wola Jasienicka]

Villages by the name of “wola” and “wólka” [a sort of diminutive of “wola”] started to occur in 13th century but the highest number of them was established in 14th century. The first mention of “wola” as a part of a place name can be found in 1254.

Other similar words that are likely connected to the meaning of the word “wola” include: Woleń, Wolna, Wólczyna, Wolnica and Lgota.

source: Encyklopedja Staroposka Ilustrowana by Zygmunt Gloger