Khanum or Khanoum (Persian: خانم, Azerbaijani: Xanım, Turkish: Hanım, Urdu: خانم) is a female royal and aristocratic title derived through an originally East Asian and Central Asian title, and was later used in the Middle East and South Asia It is the feminine equivalent of the title Khan title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Mongol tribes living to the north of China. "Khan" is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation[1] for their chief between 283 and 289.[2] The Rourans were the first people who used the titles khagan and khan for their emperors, replacing the Chanyu of the Xiongnu, whom Grousset and others assume to be Turkic.[3]

In Turkish, it is spelled Hanım. The title of Hanımefendi is a combination of the words Khanum (tr. Hanım) and efendi.

In South Asia, particularly in Punjab, Sindh, Hyderabad, Delhi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Khanum has been adapted for use as an honorific for Muslim women of high social status.

See also


  1. Henning, W. B., 'A Farewell to the Khagan of the Aq-Aqataran',"Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African studies – University of London", Vol 14, No 3, p 501–522
  2. Zhou 1985, p. 3–6
  3. René Grousset (1988). The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia now. Rutgers University Press. pp. 61, 585, n. 92. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.
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