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Chughtai or Chagatai (Turkish: Çağatay, Urdu: چغتائی‎) is a family name originated in Chaghataite Khanate and later taken by descendents of Chaghatai Khan all over the world.


Chughtai is a distorted form of Chaghadai which is a version of Chagan (white) formed using the –dai suffix as described in "On the Documentation and Construction of Period Mongolian Names" by Baras-aghur Naran;[1] it defines Chaghadai as he who is white.[2]

Origin of the Surname[edit]

The origin of Chughtai as surname is claimed to be arisen in Chaghataite Khanate as taken up by the descendents of Chaghatai Khan. For instance, Mughal King Babur claimed lineage to Chaghatai Khan.[3] Accordingly, some of the other descendents of Chaghatai Khan in South and Central Asia use variants such as Mirza and Baig.[4][5]

Linguistic Significance[edit]

Some descendents of Chaghatai Khan developed a new language[citation needed], often known as Chagatai Turkic[citation needed]. This language was once widely spoken in and around Chaghataite Khanate and got extinct in the 19th century[citation needed]. The seminal Mughal text Baburnama of King Babur is written in Chagatai. The influence of Chughtai language is also evident in other languages such as English and Urdu. For instance, the Chagatai language word orda is the root of the word horde in English. The same word is also the etymological source of the name of the Urdu language.

Place Names[edit]


In Afghanistan, Babur established a city in Kunar and named it Chughtai Sara[citation needed], pronounced as "Chegah Sarai." It was later renamed to Asa'ad Abad. Babur settled many households of Chughtai descent to eastern Afghanistan from Kunar to Laghman to ensure the security of his logistical routes from Central Asia to India[citation needed].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Period Mongolian Names - On the Documentation and Construction of Period Mongolian Names
  2. ^ Chaghadai - Æthelmearc Internal Letter of Intent Æ72
  3. ^ John F. Richards (1995). The Mughal Empire: Volume 5 of New Cambridge history of India: The Mughals and their contemporaries. pp. 19, 60, 110. ISBN 0521566037. Full text at Google Books
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. ^ Past present: Emperor’s new names