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Map of countries with the suffix -stan

The suffix -stan (Persian: ـستان-stān) is Persian for "place of"[1] or "country".[2] It appears in the names of many regions, especially in Central and South Asia, but also in the Caucasus and Russia; areas where significant amounts of Persian culture were spread or adopted. The suffix is also used more generally, as in Persian and Urdu rigestân (ریگستان) "place of sand, desert", Pakistan "land of the pure", Hindustan "land of the Hindus", golestan (گلستان) "place of flowers, garden", etc.

Etymology and cognates[edit]

The suffix, originally an independent noun, but evolving into a suffix by virtue of appearing frequently as the last part in nominal compounds, is of Indo-Iranian and ultimately Indo-European origin: It is cognate with Sanskrit sthā́na (Devanagari: स्थान [st̪ʰaːna]), meaning "the act of standing", from which many further meanings derive, including "place, location", and ultimately descends from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sthāna-.

The Proto-Indo-European root from which this noun is derived is *steh₂- (older reconstruction *stā-) "to stand" (or "to stand up, to step (somewhere), to position (oneself)"), which is also the source of English to stand, Latin stāre, and Greek histamai (ίσταμαι), all meaning "to stand" and Russian стан (stan, meaning "settlement" or "semi-permanent camp"). In Polish, stan means "state" or "condition", while in Serbo-Croatian it translates as "apartment" in its modern usage, while its original meaning was "habitat". In Czech and Slovak, it means "tent" or, in military terms, "headquarters". Also in Germanic languages, the root can be found in Stand ("place, location"), and in Stadt (German), stad/sted (Dutch/Scandinavian), stêd (West Frisian) and stead (English), all meaning either "place" or "city". The suffix -stan is analogous to the suffix -land, present in many country and location names.


CountryCapital (Pop.)Area km²PopulationDen. /km²
 AfghanistanKabul (3,476,000)652,23031,108,07743.5
 KazakhstanAstana (780,880)2,724,90017,053,0006.3
 KyrgyzstanBishkek (874,400)199,9005,551,90027.8
 PakistanIslamabad (805,235)796,095182,490,721226.6
 TajikistanDushanbe (679,400)143,1008,000,00055.9
 TurkmenistanAshgabat (1,031,992)488,1005,125,69310.5
 UzbekistanTashkent (2,309,600)447,40030,183,40067.5

Some of these nations were also known with the Latinate suffix -ia during their time as Soviet republics: Turkmenistan was frequently Turkmenia, Kyrgyzstan often Kirghizia, but Uzbekistan very rarely Uzbekia.[3][4]

Native names[edit]

Sub-national units[edit]


Some provinces of Iran:



Certain republics of Russia:


Cities and counties[edit]




Proposed names[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johnson, Bridget. "'Stan Countries – What the Suffix 'Stan' Means". About.com. Archived from the original on 2013-03-30. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "-stan". Online Etymology Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2014-01-01. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ Google Ngram Uzbekia, Kirgizia, Turkmenia, Tajikia
  4. ^ Becker, Seymour (2004). Russia's Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva, 1865-1924. Routledge. p. 553. ISBN 1-134-33582-2. As early as June 1920, Lenin had toyed with the idea of dividing Russian Turkestan into three national regions: Uzbekia, Kirgizia and Turkmenia. 
  5. ^ Jewistan: Finally Recognizing Israel as the Jewish State by Francis A. Boyle, Dissident Voice, October 21st, 2010. Accessed 2014-12-27. Archived 2014-12-30.
  6. ^ Connections @ Illinois - Jewistan: Finally Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State.
  7. ^ Abbas Accepts Occupation Harshness By Stephen Lendman, People's Voice, February 7th, 2014. Accessed 2014-12-27. Archived 2014-12-30.
  8. ^ Anti-Semitic Website Attacks Fiveish: “Sick Jew Children Dance with Dollar Bill Man to Bring Joy”, Matzav.com, Wednesday July 9, 2014.
  9. ^ Pizza, Murphy (2009). "Schism as midwife: how conflict aided the birth of a contemporary Pagan community". In Lewis, James R.; Lewis, Sarah M. Sacred schisms: how religions divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 249–261. ISBN 978-0-511-58071-0. Retrieved May 25, 2011. [...] the Pagan community of the Minnesota Twin Cities, otherwise known by members as 'Paganistan.' 

External links[edit]