The etymology of Pakistan is so cool that it gets its own Wikipedia page, something I've never encountered with word origins before. At first blush, somebody knowledgeable in Middle Eastern languages would assume that it's from pak, the Iranian word for "pure", and -stan, the general Proto-Indo-European suffix meaning "land". While that certainly was an influence on the word, this is not an origin. It's actually an acronym of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and the suffix of Baluchistan- together, the traditional five northern parts of India. It really was also kind of a pun; the name was intentionally designed to sound like pak and -stan. This was originally called Pakstan until people realized that it sounded better phonetically if they added an i, and that's where the name comes from!
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.