Neha Patil (Editor)


Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

The suffix -stan (Persian: ـستان‎‎ -stān) is Persian for "place of" or "country". 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"). 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 stare. 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.


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.

Native names

  • Armenia Hayastan (Armenia)
  • India Hindustan (India)
  • Iran

    Some provinces of Iran:

  • Golestan
  • Khuzestan
  • Kurdistan
  • Lorestan
  • Sistan and Baluchestan
  • Pakistan

    Some administrative units of Pakistan:

  •  Balochistan
  •  Gilgit-Baltistan
  • Russia

    Certain republics of Russia:

  •  Bashkortostan
  •  Dagestan
  •  Tatarstan
  • India

  • Rajasthan
  • Others

  • Gobustan Rayon, Azerbaijan
  •  Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan
  •  Kurdistan, Iraq
  • Nuristan Province, Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan

  • Arghistan
  • Ajristan
  • Gulistan
  • Kohistan (several)
  • Malestan
  • Raghistan
  • Shahristan
  • Iran

  • Ardestan
  • Bajestan
  • Chamestan
  • Dashtestan
  • Khalajastan
  • Larestan
  • Mehrestan
  • Parchestan (several)
  • Sarvestan
  • Shahrestan (Shahrestan). It is also a common noun meaning "county" in Persian, used for the counties of Iran.
  • Takestan
  • Tangestan
  • Others

  • Buston, Tajikistan
  • Gulistan, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Gulistan, Uzbekistan
  • Kohistan, Pakistan
  • Kuhistoni Mastchoh, Tajikistan
  • North Waziristan, Pakistan
  • Shahriston, Tajikistan
  • South Waziristan, Pakistan
  • Turkistan, Kazakhstan
  • Regions

  • Arabistan – the name of the Arabian Peninsula and other meanings
  • Arbayistan – a Sassanid Persian satrapy in Late Antiquity
  • Asorestan – the province of Babylonia under the Sassanid Empire
  • Azadistan – a short-lived state in the Iranian province of Azarbaijan under Mohammad Khiabani
  • Balawaristan – a revived historical name of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
  • Balochistan/Baluchistan – a region in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Baloristan – a region of Northern Areas of Pakistan
  • Baltistan – a northern region in Pakistan
  • Bantustan – an Apartheid-era South African black 'homeland' (the term coined by analogy)
  • Cholistan Desert – a desert region in Punjab, Pakistan
  • Dardistan – a region in northern Pakistan of Dardu speakers
  • East Pakistan – the historic name for pre-independence Bangladesh
  • East Turkestan or Uyghurstan – a region dominated by the Turkic-speaking Uyghur people, located in northwest China
  • Frangistan – a historical term used (by Muslims and Persians in particular) to refer to Western or Christian Europe
  • Hazaristan – the Hazarajat, homeland of the Hazara people in central Afghanistan
  • Hindustan – land of the Indus River.
  • Kabulistan – a historical name of the territory centered around present-day Kabul Province of Afghanistan
  • Kafiristan (land of the infidels) – historic region in Afghanistan until 1896, now known as Nuristan. A similarly-named region exists in north Pakistan.
  • Kohistan – several regions of this name exist
  • Kurdistan – Kurdish region
  • Lazistan – Persian name of Lazica, an ancient Georgian monarchy in western Georgia.
  • Lezgistan – ethnolinguistic region in southern Dagestan and northern Azerbaijan
  • Moghulistan (Mughalistan) – a historical area in Central Asia that included parts of modern-day Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Xinjiang
  • North Waziristan – northern part of Waziristan region in Pakistan
  • Pashtunistan – the area of Afghanistan and North-Western Pakistan historically inhabited by the Pashtun tribes
  • Quhistan – a region of medieval Persia, essentially the southern part of Greater Khorasan
  • Registan – historic site in Samarkand, meaning "place of sand"
  • Russian TurkestanTurkestan in the Russian Empire, later Turkestan Autonomous SSR
  • Sakastan or Sistan – region of Afghanistan and Pakistan where Scythians or Sakas resided in the 2nd century BCE
  • Saraikistan – a proposed region in southern Punjab province of Pakistan
  • South Waziristan – southern part of Waziristan region in Pakistan
  • Tabaristan – a historical region along the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea
  • Talyshistan – ethnolinguistic region in the SE Caucasus and NW Iran
  • Tokharistan, Tocharistan or Tukharistan, also known as Balkh or Bactria – the ancient name of a historical region in Central Asia, located between the range of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus)
  • Turkestan or Turkistan – ethnolinguistic region of Turkic peoples and languages, encompassing Central Asia, northwest China, parts of the Caucasus and Asia Minor
  • Uyghurstan, China, same as East Turkestan
  • Waziristan – a region of northwest Pakistan
  • Zabulistan – a historical region in the border area of today's Iran and Afghanistan, around the city Zabol
  • Proposed names

  • Banglastan – a proposed name for Bangladesh
  • Khalistan or Sikhistan – a proposed country created from areas within India with a Sikh majority.
  • Maronistan – a proposed name for Maronite state in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War.
  • Sunnistan, Shiastan and Kurdistan – a proposed division of Syria and Iraq where Sunni-majority, Shia-majority and Kurdish-majority areas can have their own countries.
  • Fictional

  • Adjikistan – a fictional central Asian country in the videogame SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Combined Assault.
  • Aldastan – a fictional central Asian country consisting of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, from Command & Conquer: Generals.
  • Avgatiganistan – a pun of 'Afghanistan', it means 'Fried eggs' ('Avga tiganista') in Greek. Fictional country by author Eugene Trivizas.
  • Azadistan – a fictional kingdom from the anime Mobile Suit Gundam 00, It means "free land".
  • Azmanastan (or Uzmenistan) – a fictional country and region in the film The Expendables 3.
  • Bangistan – a fictional country in the Bollywood movie Bangistan (2015) starring Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat.
  • Bazrakhistan – a fictional former Soviet republic in the movie Act of War (1998) starring Jack Scalia.
  • Belgistan – fictional Middle Eastern country in the anime Gasaraki.
  • Berzerkistan – a fictional republic run by genocidal terrorist godhead and President for Life Trff Bmzklfrpz, in the comic strip Doonesbury.
  • Brajikistan – a fictional country from season 2 of the teen sitcom Wingin' It.
  • Derkaderkastan – fictional Middle Eastern country in Team America: World Police.
  • Franistan – fictional country referred to in the television show I Love Lucy.
  • Helmajistan – fictional area from the anime Full Metal Panic!.
  • Howduyustan ("how do you stand?") – fictional country from Uncle Scrooge comic book stories.
  • Iranistan – an oriental region of Hyborea (Conan the Barbarian stories).
  • Istan – a fictional island state in the online role-playing game, Guild Wars Nightfall.
  • Kamistan (Islamic Republic of) – a fictional Middle Eastern country featured in the television series 24.
  • Kazanistan – an ideal state imagined by John Rawls in The Law of Peoples, in which there is a system of law, legal representation for all groups, and a respect for basic human rights, but not full democracy.
  • Kehjistan – the state of the eastern jungles in the game Diablo II.
  • Kerakhistan – a fictional Middle Eastern country featured in the tabletop miniature wargame Battlefield Evolution.
  • Kreplachistan – fictional country in the Austin Powers film series.
  • Langbortistan – fictional country in the Danish Donald Duck cartoons
  • Obristan – a fictional country in Papers, Please.
  • Paristan or Pari-estan – a fairyland in the folklore of Middle East, South Asia and Central Asia.
  • Pokolistan – a fictional country in DC Comics.
  • Serdaristan – a fictional country in Battlefield: Bad Company.
  • Takistan – a fictional country in ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead.
  • Tazbekistan – a fictional central Asian nation in the BBC television series Ambassadors.
  • Trashcanistan – a fictional country mentioned by the hosts of "MXC".
  • Turaqistan – fictional country in the movie War, Inc..
  • Tyrgyzstan – fictional country in the BBC television drama The State Within.
  • Zekistan – a fictional central Asian nation in the video game Full Spectrum Warrior.
  • Other

  • Absurdistan – sometimes used to satirically describe a country where everything goes wrong
  • Bimaristan – a kind of hospital in medieval Persia and the medieval Islamic world
  • Bradistan – a moniker for Bradford, England, owing to its large population of Pakistani worker migrants
  • – a Dalit advocacy website active until mid-2006, one of 18 websites that were blocked by the Indian government to check for hate messages following the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings.
  • Dondestan – an album by Robert Wyatt. Sounds like ¿Dónde están? (Where are they?) in Spanish.
  • Filmistan – a film-production company
  • Gazimestan – name of a monument commemorating the historical Battle of Kosovo
  • Hamastan – a concept of a Palestinian Islamic government with Sharia as law
  • Iranistan – a pseudo-orientalist mansion built for P. T. Barnum in 1848 in Connecticut
  • Islamistan – means 'Land of Islam', used in various contexts
  • Jewistan – a moniker proposed by Professor Francis Boyle as a replacement name for the state of Israel.
  • Londonistan – French counter-terrorism agents gave the British/English capital of London this sobriquet. Sometimes used derogatorily to refer to the large immigrant population in the city of London.
  • Muristan – a complex of streets and shops in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem
  • New Yorkistan – the title of the cover art for the December 10, 2001 edition of The New Yorker magazine
  • The New Yorkistan map itself included various districts ending in -stan, e.g., Bronxistan, Cold Turkeystan, Fuhgeddabouditstan, Gaymenistan, Taxistan, Youdontunderstandistan, etc.
  • Paganistan – the pagan/neo-pagan community of Minneapolis-Saint Paul in Minnesota
  • Registan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Samarkand, Uzbekistan
  • Sarvestan – a Sassanid-era palace in the Iranian province of Sarvestan
  • Shabestan – an underground space, usually found in traditional architecture of mosques, houses, and schools in ancient Persia
  • Shahrestan (several meanings)
  • Skateistan – a skateboarding/educational organization based in Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Yooperstan - a satirical name for regions of Michigan speaking Upper Peninsula English
  • References

    -stan Wikipedia