View category for people with the Khan surname
Variant(s): Caan
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Alternative Spellings[]

Xan (Chinese), Han (Turkish), Caan (Italian), Kahn (German)


The family name is derived from a title meaning ruler, and having an origin in Mongol and Turkish history and language. It was a title used by rulers and nobility (sometimes spelled as xan, han). A ruler with the title of "Khan" controled a khanate. See Khan in Wikipedia.

Cultural Context[]

As a family name, Khan can have one of several connotations, all related to some extent to the root described under "Meaning" above:

  • The term is used almost universally as a surname, or almost a suffix by people of Pashthoon (Pathans) ethnicity living in Afghanistan, India and bordering areas of Pakistan. In this way, it is often a synonym for Pashthoon/Pathan.
  • It is also a family name for people that were bestowed the title of Khan or Khan Bahadur either by the British Raj.