Historically, khans were Central Asian emperors, nobles, and military leaders. One of the most famous was Genghis Khan, ruler of the 13th-century Mongol empire.

The power held by someone with the title of khan depended on the country or region. In some places a khan was the most powerful ruler, and in others the khan merely controlled an army or small nomadic tribe. While the use of khan as a title faded after the Middle Ages, it became a common surname among South and Central Asian Muslims. Khan's Turkic root is khaqan, or "ruler."

Definitions of khan
  1. noun
    a title given to rulers or other important people in Asian countries
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    type of:
    ruler, swayer
    a person who rules or commands
  2. noun
    an inn in some eastern countries with a large courtyard that provides accommodation for caravans
    synonyms: caravan inn, caravansary, caravanserai
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    type of:
    auberge, hostel, hostelry, inn, lodge
    a hotel providing overnight lodging for travelers
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