In Turkish there is this word Kent which means city. Some Turkic city names have this as a suffix, like Başkent and Tashkent. In Azerbaijani the same word, with the spelling of Kənd (Kand) means village and we have tens of villages in Iranian Azerbaijan and Republic of Azerbaijan with their names ending in Kənd: Təzəkənd, sarikənd, qoşakənd, yengikənd, and etc.

In Persian cities and villages and even the language itself, I have not seen any usage of this word. I saw a statement in Wikipedia which claimed that this word is of Sogdian origin and is related to the Persian word of کندن (Kandan), which literally means digging, and metaphorically refers to an inhabited place.

Does someone have more information about the etymology of this word/suffix?

  • 1
    dictionaries.brillonline.com/iranian (Cheung 2007) gives Proto-Iranian *kanH 'to dig', cf. YAv. ºkan- ‘to dig’, Old Persian ka(n)- ‘to dig’, OKh. kaggan- ‘to dig’, BSogd. kn- ‘to put out (eye)’ etc. and suggests an Indo-European etymology, linking it to PIE ? *kenH1- ‘to dig’
    – Alex B.
    Jan 25, 2016 at 18:16
  • In Kurdish Gund means willage. Gund <- Gand <- Kand and i am agree with "If KAND is from altaic origin, there must ctys in Altay with KAND. But al of the citys with the name KAND ara in Iranian influence area".
    – Kamilo
    Mar 4, 2020 at 23:02
  • Is the Arabic tribe Banu Kindah also related? Sep 12, 2023 at 11:25

6 Answers 6


In the monumental Old Turkic Dictionary ("Древнетюркский словарь", Наука, Л., 1969) it is written that Kent/Kənd is really of the Sogdian origin. The dictionary reflects the words found in the Turkic written records of the 7th - 13th centuries.

The word Kent is not there, but the word Kend redirects to Känd, to page 290, and here is the screenshot of the Känd (city) entry. Notice the remark "[согд. k'nδ] after the headword," 'согд.' means 'Sogdian':

enter image description here

  • Excellent, thank you so much. What about the relation with Persian Kandan is it mentioned here? Sorry that I couldn't read Russian.
    – Mousa
    May 24, 2014 at 19:26
  • 3
    @Mousa - No, it's not mentioned in the dictionary, there're only translated examples of usage. But it really looks like there's a connection of this word with digging, even in Sogdian. You can download the "Sogdian Dictionary (Sogdian-Persian-English)" by B. Gharib. The entry for 'city', knδ, is #4769, page 190 (notice also entries ##4757 - 4760), and 'to dig' is kn-, page 189, so the 2 words can well be connected. Other words related to 'dig' are knt- 'dig out' (#4769) and qnyy 'digger' (#4789), the last one was probably pronounced [kane:].
    – Yellow Sky
    May 24, 2014 at 23:23
  • 2
    Well, somebody should update en.wiktionary.org/wiki/kent#Turkish, they say it's from proto-Turkic konmak. Jan 26, 2016 at 14:16
  • 2
    On the other hand, tr.wiktionary.org/wiki/kent says Sogdian. Jan 26, 2016 at 14:18

It may be of interest to note, that کندن shows a root-dualism. The Old Indian form of the root is khan, similar Pāzand χandan. So, the New Persian words χān/χāne, "house" derives from the same root as kent. This shows, that it is quite plausible that a word denoting a place to live should derive from the root "to dig". On the other hand it maybe explains, why you did not find any use of the word kent in Persian.

  • Oh, that was indeed interesting, thanks for sharing :)
    – Mousa
    May 25, 2014 at 18:05

In modern Sanskrit and Hindi "khand" (the "and" is pronounced as the "und" of hundred) means a part or a division. In India the names of many regions (both contemporary as well as ancient), have the word "khand" as a suffix, eg Uttara_khand is a state in India..(lit meaning northern division) . In India Khand is rarely seen in the name of a city or village.

The word "Khan" (the "an" is pronounced as the "an" in want) in modern Hindi means a mine (like a coal-mine).. so there is an association with digging.

I do not know if the words Khand and Khan come from a common older root.


May be that will help you. Pl let me know, if you need more information

Altaic-Turkic etymology of the word kan or ken-o

  • 4
    Can you please cite the source where you got the screen shot from? Without a proper attribution the screen shot is worthless. Aug 23, 2016 at 14:47
  • The sourse is actualy below. "Fedotov, "Doubts about the OT words", Clark 1977. Aug 28, 2016 at 14:15

If KAND is from altaic origin, there must ctys in Altay with KAND. But al of the citys with the name KAND ara in Iranian influence area.

  • this gives a hint but does not provide an evidence or proof.
    – shabunc
    Feb 4, 2020 at 12:51

I think "kot" and "kan" are enough evidence to think that the word "kand" is Altaic origine. Another possible Altaic-Turkic word for village or settlement.

  • I see you have written 3 answers here that refer to each other. This is discouraged on Stack Exchange sites. Instead of that, please use the "edit" link below your post, and write all the relevant information within one post.
    – prash
    Aug 23, 2016 at 14:51
  • Where this unsourced entry is from there doesn't seem to be anything in it to link it to kent.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 24, 2016 at 10:55
  • The screens are from data base of ancient words, made by Russian Academy of Science. starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/main.cgi?root=config&morpho=0 Aug 28, 2016 at 14:16
  • starling.rinet.ru Aug 28, 2016 at 14:17

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