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 Indus river", golestan (گلستان) "place of flowers, garden", and in Bengali koborstan (কবরস্থান) "graveyard/cemetery" etc.

Etymology and cognates

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 Ancient Greek histamai (ἵσταμαι), all meaning "to stand" and Russian стан (stan, meaning "settlement" or "semi-permanent camp"). In Polish and Ukrainian, stan means "state" or "condition", while in Serbo-Croatian it translates as "apartment" (a Slovenian word "stanovanje" means 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". 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.


Country Capital (Pop.) Area km² Population Den. /km²
Afghanistan Kabul (3,476,000) 652,230 31,108,077 43.5
Kazakhstan Astana (780,880) 2,724,900 17,053,000 6.3
Kyrgyzstan Bishkek (874,400) 199,900 5,551,900 27.8
Pakistan Islamabad (1,829,180) 796,095 182,490,721 226.6
Tajikistan Dushanbe (679,400) 143,100 8,000,000 55.9
Turkmenistan Ashgabat (1,031,992) 488,100 5,125,693 10.5
Uzbekistan Tashkent (2,309,600) 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, but Uzbekistan very rarely Uzbekia.[3][4]

Native names

Sub-national units


Some provinces of Iran:


Some administrative units of Pakistan:


Certain republics of Russia:



Cities and counties





Proposed names



See also


  1. Johnson, Bridget. "'Stan Countries – What the Suffix 'Stan' Means". About.com. Archived from the original on March 30, 2013. 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. Dibyesh Anand (15 October 2011). Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-230-36263-5.
  6. "Govt blocks 18 sites to check hate messages". The Times of India. 2006-07-19.
  7. 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.
  8. Connections @ Illinois – Jewistan: Finally Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State.
  9. Abbas Accepts Occupation Harshness By Stephen Lendman, People's Voice, February 7th, 2014. Accessed 2014-12-27. Archived 2014-12-30.
  10. Anti-Semitic Website Attacks Fiveish: “Sick Jew Children Dance with Dollar Bill Man to Bring Joy”, Matzav.com, Wednesday July 9, 2014.
  11. 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. Retrieved May 25, 2011. [...] the Pagan community of the Minnesota Twin Cities, otherwise known by members as 'Paganistan.'

External links

Look up -stan or ستان in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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