Khan (surname)

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Palazzo Ducale in Venice: capital # 16 in the porch (counting as # 0 the one at the corner near the Bridge of Sighs): Human races - A Tartar (Mongolian).

Khan (Urdu: خان) is a surname and title of Central and Western Asian origin, primarily found in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian and South Asian countries. It is a common surname among the ethnic Pashtuns of South-Central Asia.

Use as a title[edit]

The surname Khan originates with the honorific khan but it original was a kyaste surname from Khanna during the Kushan period. Mainly Pakistan, Afghanistan and West China and Mongol area landlords name where Khanna. It has the same 4 words in the suriname when pronouncing it. After Mahmud of Ghazni arrived, he did not like the name of Khanna and so al noble landlords had to converse with force to muslim and cut of their names out of fear from Idol worshipping or Jewish rituals. When Ghengis Khan appeared and Mughal rule the Khanna's mostly changed their name into Khan. Originally used in the Mongol Empire, and later more widely by Islamic chieftains in South Asia.[1][2] The British Raj continued the Mughal practice of awarding titles such as Khan Bahadur for Muslims and Rai Bahadur for Hindus.

As a title, khan is now mainly used by the Pashtuns. In the South Asian Subcontinent a Pashtun is addressed as Khan Sahib routinely whether he has Khan formally as part of his name or not. Moreover, the term Khawanain is used to refer to the Khans, collectively, as rulers, chiefs etc. of Khanates in the North West Frontier Province of India, and later Pakistan, particularly in Hangu, Hazara, Swat, Dir, Mardan and other districts in contemporary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the non-Frontier regions of the Subcontinent Khanates did not exist at anytime in history.

Communities using Khan as a surname[edit]

The communities that use the surname Khan include the Pashtuns/Afghans, Bengalis, Punjabis, Mughals, Muslim Rajputs, and Turkic people from Central Asia to northern Pakistan; tribes in Pakistan and their descendents in India, Baloch tribes in Balochistan and in Sindh and various Mongol, Turks, and Tatar tribes in central and northern Asia.

The Pashtuns claim that the title of Khan originated from Kahn (sometimes spelled Cahn), a traditionally Jewish name derived from the Hebrew name Cohen or Kohen or Cohn, denoting priestly/noble lineage.

Other usage[edit]

Khan is also a last name found in Tatars, a Muslim Turkic speaking group, mostly in Russia. Also been known to be part with Genghis Khan's army. The name Khan has also been used by the Peoples of the Caucasus since the region has a history of Turkic and Mongolic (Mughal) rulers.

It is now a widespread Islamic surname in most countries of Central and South Asia. Khan is the surname of over 80,000 Islamic Britons, mostly British Asian, making it the 80th most common surname in the United Kingdom, and one of only a handful in the 100 most common surnames which are of neither British nor Irish origin.[3]

List of people called Khan[edit]

Political or military leaders[edit]

Malik Umar Hayat Khan as an Honorary Lieutenant of the 18th King George's Own Lancers, early 20th century watercolour by Major A.C. Lovett (1862–1919)

Actors and entertainers[edit]

Shahrukh Khan, Actor, Producer, Philanthropist and Owner of Kolkata Knight Riders.
Salman Khan, Actor, Philanthropist and Producer.
Aamir Khan, Actor, Producer, Director and Writer.

In sports[edit]

Imran Khan, a former Pakistani cricketer, philanthropist and Chairmain of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Amir Khan, a British (Pakistani Origin) who became the WBA Light-welterweight World Champion.

In science and technology[edit]


Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khan entry in Hobson-Jobson: the Anglo-Indian dictionary
  2. ^ As cited in The Baburnama, 2002, W.M. Thackston p273.
  3. ^ "Khan in the UK". Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  4. ^ "Origin of 'M Khan' Graffiti". 2001-04-12. Retrieved 2012-06-09.