The suffix -stan (Persian: ـستان, translit. stân) is Persian[1] for "place of"[2] or "country".[3] It appears in the names of many regions in Iran, Afghanistan, Central and South Asia, but also in the Caucasus and Russia; areas where significant amounts of Persian culture were spread or adopted.

Etymology and cognates

The suffix -stan is analogous to the suffix -land, present in many country and location names. The suffix is also used more generally, as in Persian (borrowed into Urdu) rigestân (ریگستان) "place of sand, desert", golestân (Persian: گلستان) "place of flowers, garden", Pakistân "land of the pure", Hindustân "land of the Indus river", and in Bengali koborsthan (Bengali: কবরস্থান koborsthān) "graveyard/cemetery" known as Qabaristan as ( قبرستان ).

Originally an independent noun, this morpheme evolved into a suffix by virtue of appearing frequently as the last part in nominal compounds. It is of Indo-Iranian and ultimately Indo-European origin: It is cognate with Sanskrit sthā́na (Devanagari: Sanskrit: स्थान [st̪ʰaːna]), meaning "the act of standing", from which many further meanings derive, including "place, location; abode, dwelling", 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, German stehen "to stand", Latin stāre "to stand" and Ancient Greek hístēmi (ἵστημι) "to make to stand, to set".

English state originates from the same root, through Old French estat, from Latin: status ("manner of standing, attitude, position, carriage, manner, dress, apparel; and other senses"), from Latin: stāre.

The Indo-Iranian word has a Slavic counterpart in the form of Proto-Slavic *stanъ. In Russian, стан (stan) means "settlement" or "semi-permanent camp". In Polish, Belarusian and Ukrainian, stan means "state" or "condition", while in Serbo-Croatian it translates as "apartment" (a Slovene word "stanovanje", referring to an apartment or other closed space of living, is an obvious derivative of stan) in its modern usage, while its original meaning was "habitat". In Czech and Slovak, it means "tent" or, in military terms, "headquarters". In Romanian, stână (a Slavic loanword) refers to a temporary or semi-permanent settlement used for sheep and herds of other domestic animals.

Also in Germanic languages, the root can be found in German: Stand ("place, location"), and Proto-Germanic *stadi- "place, location" in German Stadt, Dutch: stad, Danish: sted, West Frisian: stêd and English stead, all meaning either "place" or "city".


Country Capital Currency Area km² Population Den. /km²
 Afghanistan Kabul Afghan afghani 652,230 31,108,077 43.5
 Kazakhstan Astana Kazakhstani tenge 2,724,900 17,053,000 6.3
 Kyrgyzstan Bishkek Kyrgyzstani som 199,900 5,551,900 27.8
 Pakistan Islamabad Pakistani rupee 796,095 207,800,000 226.6
 Tajikistan Dushanbe Tajikistani somoni 143,100 8,000,000 55.9
 Turkmenistan Ashgabat Turkmenistan manat 488,100 5,125,693 10.5
 Uzbekistan Tashkent Uzbekistani soʻm 447,400 30,183,400 67.5

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, and even Uzbekistan was very rarely Uzbekia.[4][5]

Native names

  • Armenia Hayastan (Armenia)
    • Haya- comes from legends that mention the patriarical founder of the Armenian Nation Hayk. Names may have once included Haykastan.

Country names in various languages

English NamePersian nameTurkish nameUrdu nameArmenian name
ArmeniaArmanestân – ارمنستانErmenistanHayastan – Հայաստան
BulgariaBulgharestân – بلغارستانBulgaristan
EnglandEngelestân – انگلستانEnglistan/Inglistan – انگلستان
GeorgiaGorjestân – گرجستانGürcistanVrastan - Վրաստան
GreeceYunanistanHunastan - Հունաստան
HungaryMajarestan مجارستانMacaristan
MongoliaMogholestan – مغولستانMoğolistan
PolandLahestân – لهستانLehastan – Լեհաստան
Saudi ArabiaArabestân-e Saudi – عربستان سعودیSuudi Arabistan
SerbiaSerbestân – صربستانSırbistan

Sub-national units

Country Sub-national unit Capital Area km² Population Den. /km² Type
 Iran Golestan Gorgan 20,367 km² 1,777,014 87/km km² Provinces of Iran
Khuzestan Ahvaz 64,055 km² 4,531,720 71/km²
Kurdistan Sanandaj 29,137 km² 1,603,011 55/km²
Lorestan Khorramabad 28,294 km² 1,716,527 61/km²
Sistan and Baluchestan Zahedan 181,785 km² 2,775,014 15/km²
 Pakistan  Balochistan Quetta 247,190 km² 12,344,408 Province of Pakistan
 Gilgit-Baltistan Gilgit 72,971 km² 1,800,000 Autonomous Region of Pakistan
 Russia  Bashkortostan Ufa 143,600 km² 4,072,292 28.36/km² Republics of Russia
 Dagestan Makhachkala 50,300 km² 2,910,249 57.86/km²
 Tatarstan Kazan 68,000 km² 3,786,488 55.68/km²
 India Rajasthan Jaipur 342,239 km² 68,548,437 State of India
 Azerbaijan Gobustan Qobustan 1,369.4 km² 37,137 27/km² Administrative divisions of Azerbaijan
 Uzbekistan  Karakalpakstan Nukus 164,900 km² 1,711,800 7.5/km² An autonomous republic within Uzbekistan
 Iraq  Kurdistan Erbil (Hewlêr) 78,736 km² 5,500,000 Autonomous region of Iraq
 Afghanistan Nuristan Parun 9,225.0 km² 140,900 15/km² Province of Afghanistan

Cities and counties






Proposed names



See also


  1. MacKenzie, D. N. (1971) A concise Pahlavi dictionary, London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press
  2. Johnson, Bridget. "'Stan Countries – What the Suffix 'Stan' Means". About.com. Archived from the original on March 30, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  3. Harper, Douglas. "-stan". Online Etymology Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2014-01-01. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  4. Google Ngram Uzbekia, Kirgizia, Turkmenia, Tajikia
  5. 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.
  6. Lebanese solution
  7. "Cobrastan". Papers Please Wiki. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  8. "Lojbnaistan". lojban wiki. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  9. Cowan, John Waldemar (1997). "1". The Complete Lojban Language (First ed.). Fairfax, VA, USA: The Logical Language Group. p. 3. ISBN 0-9660283-0-9.
  10. Dibyesh Anand (15 October 2011). Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-230-36263-5.
  11. "Govt blocks 18 sites to check hate messages". The Times of India. 2006-07-19.
  12. 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.
  13. Connections @ Illinois – Jewistan: Finally Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine..
  14. Abbas Accepts Occupation Harshness By Stephen Lendman, People's Voice, February 7th, 2014. Accessed 2014-12-27. Archived 2014-12-30.
  15. Anti-Semitic Website Attacks Fiveish: “Sick Jew Children Dance with Dollar Bill Man to Bring Joy”, Matzav.com, Wednesday July 9, 2014.
  16. 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 (PDF). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 249–261. ISBN 978-0-511-58071-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 10, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011. [...] the Pagan community of the Minnesota Twin Cities, otherwise known by members as 'Paganistan.'
  • "Indo-European root *stā-". Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved 2008-07-26.  (from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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