View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
Historically, the ruler or monarch of a Mongol tribe. Early on a distinction was made between the title of khan and that of khakan, or great khan. Later the term khan was adopted by the Seljuq and Khwarezm-Shah dynasties as a title for the highest nobility. Gradually it became an affix to the name of any Muslim property owner. Today it is often used as a surname.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on khan, visit Britannica.com.