We know that Abbottabad is named after Major James Abbott, an officer in the Indian Army who founded the town. But where does the "...abad" come from? Does it have any relationship to the English word abode?

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    I edited this to include the question from the Language Log post about the relationship to English abode. Otherwise the question was in danger of being closed as off-topic. May 6, 2011 at 13:25
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    Talk Abbotabad place to hide.
    – corsiKa
    May 6, 2011 at 17:03
  • +1 @glowcoder haha Talk Abbotabad place to hide twice! emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/05/03/… May 7, 2011 at 1:12

5 Answers 5


I am an native Urdu speaker. This word is combination of Abbot and Abad. Abbot can be the name of person.

Abad used in terms of to populate, or get settled on location, or residence or to reside. Another word is abadi which means population or a place where some population exist. i.e. Abadi of Pakistan is 160 million.

There are many other cities with suffix abad like, Islamabad, Muzaffarabad, Khroatabad etc etc.

So Islamabad will mean something like residence of Islam (it can be a name of person as well) Abbotabad will mean like place populated by Abbot, or residence of Abbot.


This was just discussed in depth on Language Log. After a long discussion giving a variety of different perspectives on the etymological roots of -abad, we get this conclusion:

So where does all of this leave us? On the one hand, the experts are not entirely agreed upon the etymological derivation of the Persian place name ending -aabaad, but it most likely comes from an Iranian root paa ("protect"). On the other hand, the English word "abode" appears to come from a Proto-Indo-European root *bheidh ("stay, wait"). In any event, I have not discovered any etymological or historical evidence indicating that Persian -aabaad and English "abode" are related.

  • +1 Any connection with Germanic -burg? It begins with a labial occlusive as well, and I think it also means something similar to "protect"...? May 6, 2011 at 13:19
  • @Cerberus, I haven't done any research on it, but initially I'm very doubtful that there's any relationship, since the Germanic root has an added -r-, and the final consonants don't match. May 6, 2011 at 13:24
  • @JSBangs: Yeah, that is what I thought... there is a small chance that -burg consists of two roots... but I have no idea, really. May 6, 2011 at 13:28
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    Nobody has mentioned that there are a lot of cities in the region ending with abad, the two most prominent ones being Hyderabad, India and Jalalabad, Afghanistan. May 6, 2011 at 13:29
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    Just to note, I've been talking with a friend of mine from the area and he seems to think it comes from Urdu, originating from Persian to mean 'abode, town or settlement', as in Islamabad meaning 'abode / settlement of Islam. I'm digging a little more. May 6, 2011 at 13:33

From: Wikipedia

Etymology: The name of the city is a compound containing two words, Abbott and Abad.

Abad: a place of living.

But this seems interesting, since, in Spanish

Abad: Abbott.

From: Google Translate


here's an (and probably an easier) entry about آباد

Per Lubotsky, from Common Iranian *āpāta-, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂- (“to protect”), whence also Persian پاییدن (pāyīdan).

Commonly compared to Sanskrit आवास (ā-vāsa, “abode, residence, dwelling”), which is most likely from Sanskrit root √vas (“to dwell, live, stop, stay”).

here's the entry on *peh₂-

Semantic shift from "protector" towards "shepherd, herder" can be seen in many branches, signifying the importance of herding. Unusual is the o-grade root in Greek ποιμήν (poimḗn, “shepherd, herdsman”), where the abstract nomina agentis suffix *-men usually binds e-grade, but that hardly seems sufficient to reconstruct *h₃ in the root and to separate it from *peh₂-.

Can we find a word that has the same meaning of "abad" via "vasati"? Well, you could through one of the descendants in Hindi बस्ती (bastī)

बस्ती • (bastī) f., Urdu spelling بستی

  1. settlement, village, small town

so although you'd end up with with -abad that means city and bastī that means a small town (and arguably - an abode) - they're probably not related.

  • Per Lubotsky, from Common Iranian *āpāta-, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *peh₂- (“to protect”), whence also Persian پاییدن (pāyīdan). What does apata mean?
    – user87400
    Aug 6, 2014 at 12:11

-Abad comes from Hindi/Urdu word which means 'populated'. 'Abadi' mean population. There are many cities in the Indian Subcontinent and also Afghanistan(e.g. Jalalabad) ending with -abad.

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