Khan (surname)

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Khan (/xɑːn/) is a surname of Turko-Mongol origin,[1] today most commonly found in parts of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Iran. It is derived from the historic title khan, referring to military chief or royalty. It originated as a hereditary title among nomadic tribes in the Central and Eastern Eurasian Steppe during antiquity and was popularized by Turkic dynasties in the rest of Asia as well as in Eastern Europe during the medieval period.

The name's earliest discovered usage as a title for chiefs and for monarchs dates back, respectively, to the Xianbei and the Rourans, two proto-Mongolic societies in Inner Asia during antiquity; in the Pannonian Basin and Carpathian Mountains and their surrounding regions of Central and Southeast Europe, the title was used by the Pannonian Avars and the early Bulgars during the early medieval period before being more widely spread by various Muslim chieftains in a region spanning the empires centred in modern-day Turkey and Crimea to those in the Indian subcontinent.[2][3]

The surname Khan is occasionally found among people of Turkic and Mongolic descent, but it is far more common among Muslims in South Asia.[4][5] Khan as a last name is also used by Kashmiri Hindus, native to the Kashmir Valley of the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.[6][7]

As of 2014, Khan is one of the most common surnames worldwide, shared by over 22 million people in Asia and 23 million people worldwide.[8] It is the surname of over 108,674 British Asians, making it the 12th-most common surname in the United Kingdom.[9]

Notable people[edit]

Scholars, intellectuals and academics[edit]

Politicians and rulers[edit]

Actors and entertainers[edit]

  • Aamir Khan, Indian actor, film producer and director
  • Abdul Karim Khan, Indian classical vocalist
  • Abdul Wahid Khan, Indian musician, mentor of many singers like Muhammad Rafi and Ram Narayan
  • Adil Khan, Norwegian actor of Pashtun and Punjabi descent
  • Adnan Sami Khan, Indian singer, playback singer and music composer
  • Aiman Khan, Pakistani film and television actress, sister of actress Minal Khan
  • Akram Khan (dancer), British dancer of Bangladeshi descent
  • Anik Khan, Bangladesh-born American rapper
  • Ali Akbar Khan, Bangladesh Bengali sarod player
  • Alvira Khan Agnihotri, Indian film producer and fashion designer (Salman Khan's sister and Salim Khan's daughter)
  • Amar Khan, Pakistani director, writer and television actress
  • Amjad Khan, Indian actor and director
  • Arbaaz Khan, Indian actor, director and film producer (Salman Khan's brother)
  • Asad Amanat Ali Khan (1955–2007), Pakistani vocalist
  • Ayesha Sultana Khan (Sharmila Tagore), actress, model, Central Board of Film Certification chairperson (mother of Saif Ali Khan)
  • Ayub Khan, Indian television and film actor (Nasir Khan's son and Dilip Kumar's nephew)
  • Attaullah Khan, Pakistani singer
  • Bat for Lashes, stage name of Natasha Khan, British singer-songwriter and musician
  • Bilal Khan (disambiguation), several people
  • Cassius Khan, Canadian Indian classical musician in New Westminster, known as the Ghazal/Tabla Wizard
  • Chaka Khan, American R&B singer
  • Conrad Khan, British actor
  • Dilip Kumar (born Muhammad Yusuf Khan), Indian actor of Pashtun origin
  • Faisal Khan, Indian actor (Aamir Khan's brother)
  • Farah Khan, Indian film director, choreographer, dancer and fashion designer
  • Faraaz Khan, Indian film actor of 1990s and early 2000s
  • Fardeen Khan, Indian actor (son of Feroz Khan)
  • Fawad Khan, Pakistani film actor and singer, also worked in Indian films
  • Feroz Khan, Indian actor, director and film producer (father of Fardeen Khan)
  • Feroze Khan, Pakistani television actor and producer
  • Gauahar Khan, Indian model and actress
  • Gul Khan, Indian television producer
  • Guz Khan (born 1986), English comedian and actor
  • Helen Richardson Khan, Indian actress (wife of Salim Khan)
  • Hina Khan, Indian television actress
  • Imran Khan (Bollywood actor) (born Imran Pal), Indian American actor, works in Bollywood (Aamir Khan's nephew)
  • Imran Khan (singer), Dutch singer of Punjabi descent
  • Irrfan Khan (1967–2020), Indian actor (in Indian films and Hollywood films)
  • Jiah Khan, British-American actress who worked in Indian Bollywood films
  • Junaid Khan, Pakistani film actor, singer and writer
  • Kabir Khan, Indian director, screenwriter, cinematographer and film producer
  • Kareena Kapoor Khan, Indian actress (wife of Saif Ali Khan, member of Kapoor family, daughter of actor Randhir Kapoor and actress Babita)
  • Khalil Ullah Khan, film and TV actor, 1976 winner of Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • King Khan, real name Arish Khan, Indian/French-Canadian musician
  • Krutika Desai Khan, Indian actress working in film, television and theatre
  • Mahira Khan, Pakistani drama and film actress, also works in Bollywood
  • Mansoor Khan, Indian director, film producer and screenwriter (Nasir Hussain's son, Aamir Khan's cousin)
  • Marco Khan, Iranian actor
  • Mehboob Khan, Indian director, film producer, actor and writer
  • Minal Khan, Pakistani television actress, sister of actress Aiman Khan
  • Nahnatchka Khan, American television writer and producer
  • Nasir Hussain Khan, Indian director, film producer and screenwriter (Aamir Khan's uncle)
  • Nasir Khan, Indian actor (Dilip Kumar's brother)
  • Nazir Ahmed Khan, Indian director, film producer and actor in British India and then Pakistan (brother-in-law of filmmaker K. Asif)
  • Nikhat Khan, Indian film producer (Aamir Khan's sister)
  • Noor Khan, Pakistani television actress and sister of actress Sarah Khan
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani vocalist
  • Parvati Khan, Indo-Trinidadian singer and model who worked in Bollywood
  • Praga Khan, real name Maurice Engelen, Belgian techno musician
  • Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, vocalist
  • Rehan Khan, Bollywood singer from Goa
  • Riyaz Khan, South Indian actor
  • Roy Sætre Khantatat, Norwegian singer, better known as Roy Khan
  • Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Pakistani vocalist
  • Saif Ali Khan, Indian actor (son of Sharmila Tagore, husband of Kareena Kapoor)
  • Sajid Khan, Indian actor and singer
  • Sajid Khan, Indian film director and actor
  • Salim Khan, Indian screenwriter and scriptwriter (father of Salman Khan), part of screenwriting duo Salim–Javed
  • Salman Khan, Indian actor and film producer
  • Sana Khan, Indian model and television actress
  • Sanjay Khan, Indian actor, director and film producer (father of Zayed Khan)
  • Sarah Khan, Pakistani TV actress in Urdu television serials
  • Saroj Khan, Indian choreographer
  • Shahid Khan, British DJ, record producer, songwriter and musician known professionally as Naughty Boy
  • Shahrukh Khan, Indian actor, film producer (known as King Khan)
  • Sahil Khan, Indian actor
  • Shakib Khan, Bangladeshi actor, producer, occasional singer, film organiser and media personality[10] (known as King Khan)
  • Soha Ali Khan, Indian actress (Saif Ali Khan's sister, daughter of actress Sharmila Tagore)
  • Sohail Khan, Indian actor, director and film producer (brother of Salman Khan)
  • Sudhir, real name Shah Zaman Khan Afridi, actor
  • Tahir Hussain Khan, Indian director and film producer (Aamir Khan's father)
  • Tariq Khan, Indian actor (Aamir Khan's cousin, Nasir Hussain's nephew)
  • Valentino Khan, American DJ, music producer, guitarist, singer, songwriter
  • Zareen Khan, Bollywood actress who has also appeared in Tamil and Punjabi films
  • Zayed Khan, Indian actor (Sanjay Khan's son, Sussanne Khan's brother, brother-in-law of Hrithik Roshan)


In science and technology[edit]

  • Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistani engineer, considered the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme
  • Akhtar Hameed Khan Pakistani social scientist and development practitioner
  • Fazlur Khan, Bengali-American structural engineer and designer of Chicago's Sears Tower and John Hancock Center
  • Ishfaq Ahmad Khan, Pakistani scientist in particle and nuclear physics
  • Munir Ahmad Khan, Pakistani scientist in nuclear physics, credited as the father of Pakistan's Atomic Project
  • Mohammad Islam Khan (1957–2010), Indian glycobiologist, scientist at the National Chemical Laboratory
  • Naeem Ahmad Khan (1928–2013), Pakistani nuclear physicist and university professor of physics
  • Shaukat Hameed Khan, Pakistani nuclear physicist
  • Mohammad Ajmal Khan, physician in Delhi, India, one of the founders of the Jamia Millia Islamia University
  • Muhammad Siddiq Khan (1910–1978), librarian of the Central Library of the University of Dhaka and the founder of the university's Department of Library Science
  • Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Pakistani agricultural scientist, professor of horticulture at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad in Pakistan
  • Razib Khan, Bengali-American geneticist

Other professions[edit]

  • Abul Kashem Khan (1905–1991), jurist, political leader, and industrialist from Bangladesh
  • Alan Khan (born 1971), South African radio presenter
  • Amjad Khan (1940–1992), Indian film producer
  • Baseera Khan, American artist
  • Chantal Khan Da Silva, Canadian journalist born to a Pakistani-Brazilian family; currently residing in the United Kingdom. An NBC News reporter and editor.
  • Fazal Khan, Pakistani lawyer and Pashtun human rights activist
  • Gauri Khan (born 1971), Indian interior designer and film producer (wife of Indian star Shahrukh Khan)
  • Hakim Khan descendent of Shershah Suri and chief commander of Rana Pratap's army
  • Inayat Khan, (1882–1927), founder of Universal Sufism and the Sufi Order International
  • Irene Khan (born 1956), Bangladeshi lawyer, former Secretary General of Amnesty International
  • Kiran Rao Khan (born 1973), Indian director, film producer and screenwriter (wife of Indian star Aamir Khan)
  • The (unknown) 'M Khan', the subject of many gag routines on The Mary Whitehouse Experience because of long-standing graffiti visible from a major London road[11]
  • Mansoor Ali Khan (born 1979), Pakistani journalist and television anchor
  • Mirza Abu Taleb Khan (1752–1805/6), Indian tax-collector and travel-writer
  • Mohammad Sidique Khan (1974–2005), London train suicide bomber
  • Nawab Muhammad Hayat Khan (1833–1901) British-Indian administrator and aristocrat
  • Nick Khan Iranian American President of WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment
  • Noor Inayat Khan (1914–1944), British spy in occupied France
  • Oghuz Khan, legendary forefather of the Turkic people
  • Peter Khan (born Afghan-Khan), Australian member of the Universal House of Justice of the Bahá'í Faith
  • Shahid Khan (born 1950), Pakistan-born American businessman, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham F.C.
  • Sussanne Khan (born 1975), Indian interior fashion designer and entrepreneur
  • Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–1898), Islamic scholar
  • Tariq Ali Khan (born 1943), British-Pakistani writer, intellectual and socialist
  • Tasmin Lucia Khan (born 1980), British Bangladeshi journalist and news presenter for BBC News
  • Tony Khan (born 1982), American businessman; co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham F.C. along with his father Shahid, and CEO, President of All Elite Wrestling and Ring of Honor Wrestling.
  • Vilayat Inayat Khan (1916–2004), former head of the Sufi Order International
  • Usman Khan (1991–2019), Islamic terrorist and perpetrator of the 2019 London Bridge stabbing
  • Zia Inayat Khan, the Pir of the Sufi Order International
  • Shahid Khan, co-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) and Fulham F.C. of the EFL Championship, Founder, co-owner of the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) promotion.
  • Shahal Khan, American Businessman and founder of Burkhan Family Office.nawab Malik Ameer Muhammad Khan he belongs to kalghan Awan tribe

Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Khan". Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  2. ^ Khan entry in Hobson-Jobson: the Anglo-Indian dictionary
  3. ^ As cited in The Baburnama, 2002, W.M. Thackston p273.
  4. ^ "Krum | Bulgar khan | Britannica". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  5. ^ People of India Volume XLII Part Three edited by A Hassan & J C Das page 1139 to 1141 Manohar Publications
  6. ^ Kaul, Upendra (4 September 2020). "My name is Khan, and I'm Kaul". Greater Kashmir. Archived from the original on 5 April 2023. Retrieved 11 September 2023. It is hard to believe that surnames – Peer, Wali or Khan, are common Hindu surnames. At the same time a Muslim carrying his last name as Rishi or Pandit…… sounds incredible, but it is a common feature in Kashmir.
  7. ^ Anwar, Tarique; Bhat, Rajesh (23 February 2008). "Kashmiryat in Kashmiri surnames". Two Circles. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2023. Ever heard a Hindu by the surname Peer, Wali or Khan? Or imagine a Muslim carrying his last name as Rishi or Pandit…… Sounds incredible but it is a common feature in Kashmir, where unlike in other parts of the country, Muslims and Hindus have been sharing the same surnames since ages.
  8. ^ "Khan" (surname distribution),, 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. ^ "England Genealogy Resources & Parish Registers".
  10. ^ "Shakib Khan: Movies, Photos, Videos, News, Biography & Birthday". The Times of India. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Origin of 'M Khan' Graffiti". 12 April 2001. Retrieved 9 June 2012.