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Surname Shah - Meaning and Origin

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Shah: What does the surname Shah mean?

The last name Shah is of Persian origin and is commonly used in Iran, India, and Pakistan. The name "Shah" was traditionally given to the monarchs — equivalent to a king or a ruler — of Persia/Iran, starting from the Middle Ages and continued until the twentieth century. The term 'Shah' roughly translates to 'King' or 'Cheiftain'. In reference to the geographical division, this surname is widespread in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and is mostly used by people of business and trading communities. It is also commonly used as a last name amongst the Parsi community, who migrated to India following the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th century. Additionally, it's found in some regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan within certain communities. Despite its royal origins, the surname Shah has now become common among people of different professions and classes.

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Shah: Where does the name Shah come from?

The last name Shah is most commonly found in South Asia, particularly India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. It is also common in the Middle East, in countries such as Iran, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates.

In India, it is derived from the Sanskrit word “shaha”, which means “king”. It is commonly used as either a middle name or a surname among the upper caste Hindus, Muslims, Jains, and Parsis. It is also commonly used as a royal title among many of the Indian royal dynasties, claiming direct descent from the former Mauryan dynasty of India.

In Afghanistan, the surname Shah is derived from Persian and is commonly used as a patronymic. Its usage in Afghanistan peaked during the rule of the former Afghan royal family, but its usage has spread throughout social classes since then.

In Bangladesh, it is derived from the Persian for “king”. Iran is also a large source of the last name Shah, often used as both a patronymic and a surname among Persians, especially in western Iran. In Iraq, the surname is derived from the Arabic term for “king”. In the United Arab Emirates, the last name is commonly used by members of all ethnic backgrounds, but is most prevalent with Arab members of society.

Variations of the surname Shah

The surname Shah is a very common surname found in many different countries. It is an Indian surname derived from the Sanskrit word “Shahs” which means a king or leader, and is of Indian origin. Its spelling variants and surnames of the same origin include Sha, Shaha, Shay, Shayan, Shau, Shaikh, Shaikhzada, Shaheen, Safir and Shaanish.

Sha is the most common variant of the surname Shah. It is found in many countries, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as other countries with large Indian populations. The variant Shaha is often found in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, while Shay is more commonly found in the Commonwealth countries. Shayan is another spelling variant, most popular in South Asia.

Shau is an uncommon spelling variant of the surname and is found more often in Bangladesh. Shaikh is a very popular spelling variant, most commonly found in the Indian states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Shaikhzada is another spelling variant with the same meaning, found in the subcontinent and the Middle East. Shaheen is another popular variant which is most commonly found in the Indian subcontinent and Middle East.

Safir is an Arabic spelling variant of the surname and it is mainly associated with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Finally, Shaanish is a spelling variant which is also associated with India.

Famous people with the name Shah

  • Shah Rukh Khan: Actor and producer of Bollywood cinema.
  • Shabana Azmi: Indian actress of cinema and television.
  • Amrita Pritam: Indian poet and novelist.
  • Sanjay Shah: Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of Solo Capital Markets.
  • Rahil Shah: former professional Tennis player and businessman.
  • Jay Sean: English R&B singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer and actor.
  • Sheila Shah: Maharashtrian actress, India's 1st female script and dialogue writer.
  • Deepika Padukone: Indian film actress and producer.
  • Pankaj Udhas: Playback singer, performed in concerts and made appearances on television shows.
  • Amber Shah: Middle-distance runner and two-time national champion.

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