Khatun (Old Turkic: 𐰴𐰍𐰣, romanized: Katun, Ottoman Turkish: خاتون, romanized: Hatun or قادین romanized: Kadın, Uzbek: xotin, Persian: خاتون khātūn; Mongolian: ᠬᠠᠲᠤᠨ, khatun, хатан khatan; Chinese: 可敦; Hindi: ख़ातून khātūn; Bengali: খাতুন; Turkish: hatun; Azerbaijani: xatun) is a female title of nobility and counterpart to "khan" or "Khagan" prominently used in the Turkic Khaganates and in the subsequent Mongol Empire.

Etymology and historyEdit

Before the advent of Islam in Central Asia, Khatun was the title of the queen of Bukhara. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Khatun [is] a title of Sogdian origin borne by the wives and female relatives of the Göktürks and subsequent Turkish rulers."[1]

According to Bruno De Nicola in Women in Mongol Iran: The Khatuns, 1206-1335, the linguistic origins of the term “khatun” are unknown, though possibly of Old Turkic or Sogdian origin. De Nicola states that prior to the spread of the Mongols across Central Asia, Khatun meant ‘lady’ or ‘noblewoman’ and is found in broad usage in medieval Persian and Arabic texts.[2]

Peter Benjamin Golden observed that the title qatun appeared among the Göktürks as the title for the khagan's wife and was borrowed from Sogdian xwāten "wife of the ruler"[3] Earlier, British Orientalist Gerard Clauson (1891–1974) defined xa:tun as "'lady' and the like" and says there is "no reasonable doubt that it is taken from Sogdian xwt'yn (xwatēn), in Sogdian xwt'y ('lord, ruler') and xwt'yn 'lord's or ruler's wife'), "which is precisely the meaning of xa:tun in the early period."[4]

Modern usageEdit

In Uzbek, the language spoken in modern-day Bukhara, in Uzbekistan, the word is spelled xotin and has come to simply refer to any woman. In Turkish, it is written hatun. The general Turkish word for 'woman', kadın, is a doublet derived from the same origin.[5]

In Urdu, the word khatun is used commonly to refer to any woman. The female title khanum is also used as the feminine counterpart of khan.

Notable KhatunsEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Mernissi, Fatima (1993). The Forgotten Queens of Islam. University of Minnesota Press. p. 21.
  2. ^ De Nicola, Bruno (2017). Women in Mongol Iran: The Khatuns, 1206-1335. Edinburgh University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9781474415477.
  3. ^ Peter Benjamin Golden (1998), "Turks and Iranians: An historical sketch" in Johanson, Lars; Csató, Éva Ágnes (2015). The Turkic Languages. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-136-82534-7., page 5
  4. ^ Clauson, Gerard (1972). An Etymological Dictionary of Pre-Thirteenth-Century Turkish. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 602–603. ISBN 978-0-19-864112-4.
  5. ^ Clauson, p. 602.


Works cited

Further readingEdit