One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A title given to rulers and officials in central Asia, Afghanistan, and certain other Muslim countries.
- ‘In Qutaifah we were told by several local people that there was no khan in their town, only the Khan al-Arus some kilometers away.’
- ‘In the nineteenth century, the Caucasus and Central Asia were places of untrammeled brigandage and intermittent rebellion, marked by the rule of unpredictable kings and khans.’
- ‘Finally the Russians split Azerbaijan's territory with Persia in 1828 by the Treaty of Turkmenchay, establishing the present frontiers and extinguishing the last native dynasties of local Azerbaijani khans.’
- 1.1 Any of the successors of Genghis Khan, supreme rulers of the Turkish, Tartar, and Mongol peoples and emperors of China in the Middle Ages.
ruler, sovereign, king, monarch, potentate, lord, overlordView synonyms
- ‘Timur's trajectory began with a three-year struggle to achieve dominance, at the end of which in 1370 he proclaimed himself not merely emir of Samarkand but khan of the Chagatai and inheritor of Genghis's Mongol empire.’
- ‘The title was also used of Tatar khans, Biblical kings, and of various rulers in folk genres.’
- ‘The ruler of the state, the khan, was in charge of foreign political affairs and was commander of the army in times of war.’
- ‘She complained about the poor planning of the town to the khan, and suggested that Jilan-Tau would be a better place for the city, because it was close to a river.’
- ‘Each of the domes represents a battle in Ivan's triumphant war against the rebellious khan of Kazan.’
- ‘There, a Genoese colony was under siege from a khan of the Golden Horde named Yannibeg, when his army was decimated by an outbreak of plague.’
- ‘For the first time in Bulgaria, archaeologists have excavated a grave of a Proto-Bulgarian aristocrat from the age of the khans.’
- ‘In 864, Boris I together with his entire court and many other Bulgarians accepted Christianity and changed his pagan title khan to kniaz (prince).’
- ‘They look aged beyond their years by the fierce sun, and make do with what they have, their destinies once determined by feudal khans, then Soviet masters and now an unsure independence.’
- ‘The spiritual leader of Mongolia's Lamaists was proclaimed khan of Mongolia on 16 December, and the country's religious center, Urga, became the capital.’
- ‘Their princes, or khans, made capital and court at Karabalghasun on the River Orkhon in present-day Mongolia.’
- ‘The rulers of Moscow rose to pre-eminence among the scattered principalities as agents of the Mongol khans, who employed them to maintain order in their Russian realm and collect the tribute.’
- ‘He walked his audience through a litany of invaders: Mongol khans, Turkish beys, Swedish feudal lords, Polish and Lithuanian gentry, British and French capitalists, Japanese barons.’
- ‘The three khans were subject to the Khakhan (the Great Khan), but were generally resentful in their relations with him.’
- ‘From rival tribes, the Tibetans were united in the sixth century; they were led by strong tribal leaders until the thirteenth century, when Mongol khans created a theocracy under their Buddhist spiritual advisors.’
- ‘A mission from Pope Innocent IV in 1246 to the Mongol great khan was politely received but the message back invited the pope to submit.’
- ‘An ample reference section at the end of the book contains lists of rulers including emperors, ecclesiastics, caliphs, khans, and kings of Serbia.’
- ‘Furthermore, the khan was awarded the title of Caesar, making him second only to the emperor.’
Late Middle English: from Old French chan, medieval Latin canus, caanus, from Turkic ḵān ‘lord, prince’.
(in the Middle East) an inn for travellers, built around a central courtyard.
- ‘However, I have since found two eighteenth-century accounts of traveling between Aleppo and Damascus by English travelers, who both report staying at a khan in Qutaifah.’
From Persian ḵān.
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