What does the -abad suffix in southwest Asian city names mean?

Off the top of my head I can think of Islamabad, Abbottabad, Jalalabad and Hyderabad. A quick perusal of the lists of large cities in Pakistan and India shows that there are at least a few others. So what language is it from, and what does it mean?

Wiki says Islamabad is Urdu for “Abode of Islam”. Abbottabad and Hyderabad also give Urdu as its origins.

Jalalabad is listed as Pashto.

I’m pretty sure it’s just the equivalent of “-town.” Wikipedia says it’s Persian and means “place.”

I’m just answering from a Google search, but it seems to come from Persian, and basically means “place.”

Supposedly, it comes from the Persian word meaning “to cultivate, grow, or thrive.” So, “Islamabad” would be a place where Islam thrives. “Jalal” means “glory,” so “Jalalabad” would mean a place where glory thrives. Basically, a glorious place.

Abbottabad, according to Wikipedia, was named after James Abbott, a British military officer who founded the town in the 1850s, when it was part of British India. So, it basically means “Abbott’s place”

I should note that I don’t speak any of these languages, and my answer is the result of some very quick Google-fu.

Does anyone else prick up their ears at Abbottabad? The other names listed: Islamabad, Hyderabad and Jalalabad all sound sufficiently foreign, but Abbottabad sounds like Abbott’s place. This just sounded really odd to me.

The town is named for British army major James Abbott.

So -bad is the equivalent of English-speaking North American -ville? :slight_smile:

No, “-abad” is. And “-stan” is the equivalent of “-land.”


In that case, I’ll stop searching the map for a Costellobad.

For a while, I was confused but for those who don’t know, there’s a Hyderabad city, district and airport in both India and Pakistan.