Royal and noble ranks in Iran, Turkey, Caucasus, the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan
King / Emperor
Royal Prince
Shahzade / Şehzade
Noble Prince
Royal house

Baig, also commonly spelled Beg, or Begh (Persian: بیگ, Bay, Turkish: Bey) was a title of Turko-Mongol origin, which is today used as a surname or middle name to identify lineage. It means Chief or Commander and is common in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Iran, Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe (former Yugoslav) and among their respective diaspora.


The name Baig is derived from the Iranian Languages word Beg or Bey, which itself comes from the Proto-Aryan *bege- "God", from Proto-Indo-European *bʰágo- "God, divinity" *bʰag-.

Beg was also subsequently used as a military rank in the Ottoman Empire.[lower-alpha 1]

It was also used during the Qing dynasty in China. When the Qing dynasty ruled Xinjiang, it permitted the Turkic Begs in the Altishahr region to maintain their previous status, and they administered the area for the Qing as officials.[1][2][3][4] High-ranking Begs were allowed to wear the Queue.[5]

Use as a name

For the Persian use, it is common to see the name Beg added to the Persian suffix of 'zada' (male), 'zadi' (female), which means 'son of' or 'daughter of'. For Example: Mirza Begzada or Noor Begzadi. For the Turkish use, it is most common to see the spelling Beg or Bey utilized. (Sometimes, it is used along with the title "Mirza", similar to the Moghal usage).

For the Moghal use, the honorific title Mirza (Persian: مرزا) was added before the given name for all the males and 'Baig' (Persian: بیگ) for the males or Begum (Persian: بگوم) for the females, was added as a family name. For example: Mirza Abdullah Baig or Farzana Begum. This was the historical naming convention for the descendants of the Moghal dynasty. Today, however, it is not uncommon to see descendants of the Moghals use Baig as a middle name and Mirza as the surname or vice versa. For example: Abdullah Baig Mirza or Abdullah Mirza Baig.

For the Slavic or Bosniak use, it is common to see the name Beg added to the Slavic suffix of 'ovic', 'ovich', which roughly means 'descendant of'. While the title "Beg" is not in use in Bosnia anymore, track of families of "Beg" descent is kept. But a surname containing "-begović" suffix in itself is not a clear indicator of descent. For example, there is a number of "Begović" families, some are of noble descent, some not. "Idrizbegović" would be another example of non-noble family with the suffix. Some examples of "beg" families are: Šahbegović, Rizvanbegović, Šačirbegović. On the other hand, "Kukavica" is an example of a famous "beg" family, not containing the title in itself. The book by Enver Imamović "Porijeklo i pripadnost stanovništva Bosne i Hercegovine" details the origin of a big number of families in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There are various other alternative spellings used today as well, such as: Begh, Begg, Beigh, Beyg, Bayg, Bek, Bik.

Notable Begs/Baigs





Central Asia








Sri Lanka


United States

See also


  1. For more info please refer article: (Bey)


  1. Rudelson, Justin Jon; Rudelson, Justin Ben-Adam (1997). Oasis Identities: Uyghur Nationalism Along China's Silk Road (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0231107862. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  2. Clarke, Michael E. (2011). Xinjiang and China's Rise in Central Asia - A History. Taylor & Francis. p. 20. ISBN 1136827064. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  3. Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. p. 101. ISBN 0231139241. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  4. Crossley, Pamela Kyle; Siu, Helen F.; Sutton, Donald S., eds. (2006). Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China. Volume 28 of Studies on China (illustrated ed.). University of California Press. p. 121. ISBN 0520230159. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  5. James A. Millward (1998). Beyond the pass: economy, ethnicity, and empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864. Stanford University Press. p. 204. ISBN 0-8047-2933-6. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  6. Same surname beg, baig, bey / surname in part of Mirza and Ottoman Empire in Name Osman I
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