Especially in east geography (middle east, middle asia, asia) the words starting with Kha, ka, cha means like a leader or a king or a lord.

Khaalesi (game of thrones character who living in east of the game of thrones map)

Khan (old Turkic-Mongolian word e.g. Genghis Khan)

Kaan (old Turkish leaders e.g. Bumin Kaan/Kağan, Kağan)

Is this sound meaning anything like leader or lord ?

  • A phone alone never means anything. Several of the words mentioned do have common etymology, but it has nothing to do with the phone [kh] itself.
    – bytebuster
    Jun 23, 2016 at 19:17
  • It is possible that they are all related. Either Martin or Peterson could have deliberately coined khal based on khan. Which has nothing to do with [x].
    – user6726
    Jun 23, 2016 at 20:41
  • 2
    One of these things is not like the others... since "khaalesi" is from a fictional language, it's obviously not historically related to any real languages. (As user6726 mentions, it might have been based on words from real languages, but that's a different matter.) Jun 24, 2016 at 4:36

1 Answer 1


Sounds have no meaning per se. Besides a few ideophones, human language is arbitrary.

See: duality of patterning

The word khan is a bastardisation of khagan/kağan/қаған/خاقان‎‎/可汗, the ultimate origin of which is likely Mongolic. There are many such cognates floating around Asia, beginning about 1500 years ago, and in Europe, beginning about 1000 years ago. There is a tendency to mythologise these things, but it is not much more interesting nor older nor more widespread today than sir, sire, senior, señor, signore, sénos... or ustâ, ოსტატი, استاد, استا, остаз, استاد...

(Names of fictional characters are of course just that - names of fictional characters.)

  • Sound doesn't convey meaning, eh? Paging Dr. Lawler.....
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 24, 2016 at 11:50
  • 1
    We can talk about en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_symbolism but there is still no inherent universal meaning to those sounds associated with those classes per se. Jun 24, 2016 at 12:53
  • 1
    There are decent arguments generally but, pardon, many problems with the list you posted. Jun 24, 2016 at 12:57
  • That's like saying written words have no meaning because spelling is arbitrary. Of course spelling is arbitrary (by the aptly named principle of the arbitrary sign), but words still have the meanings we ascribe to them. That's what meaning means. Similarly, phones have the meanings we ascribe to them, the semantics they convey when uttered. For example, in English, something like 400 words starting with sn relate to the idea of a nose.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 24, 2016 at 13:00

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