How does “jan” translate from Armenian, what does jan mean in Armenian, when Armenians use the word “jan”

What is "jan" and how to use this word?

What is "jan" and how to use this word?

“Valik-jan, I’ll tell you a smart thing, but don’t be offended: you are not cut from the same cloth with that woman ...” (“Mimino”)

When communicating with an Armenian, you will certainly hear the word "jan". They will addressed you with it or add to your name. But what does this word mean? What do they mean, when they call you "jan"? We have tried to explain it in this article.


  1. Etymology of the word "jan"
  2. What does the word "jan" mean?
  3. How is the word "jan" used?
  4. Variants of the word "jan"

Etymology of the word "jan"

It is still unclear where the word "jan" has made its way into Armenian from. Most likely, it has Proto-Indo-European roots and got into the Armenian language from Old Persian. In modern Persian or Farsi, "jan" means life, spirit, soul (including when addressing affectionately). Similar words can be found in many other languages of the world. For example, a related word in Sanskrit means breath.

According to another theory, "jan" is of Turkic origin. In modern Turkish "my dear" sounds like "janim". But it is assumed that, on the contrary, the nomadic Turks could adopt this word as a result of contacts with their neighbors.

What does the word "jan" mean?

As mentioned above, "jan" is the soul or life. That is, when calling someone "jan", the Armenians literally mean “my soul”, “my life”. Less poetical, but also correctly you can translate "jan" as "dear".

How is the word "jan" used?

This is an emotionally colored and very widely used word. It is added after a proper name or a common noun: “Doctor jan, how is my wife feeling?” Or they use it separately: “Jan, what can I bring for you?”

Addressing someone with "jan", an Armenian means that: respects a person; has warm feelings towards him; shows his love; admires the interlocutor; considers him a friend. That is, different shades of benevolent attitude are transmitted with the help of this word.

Armenians call a dear person different people. First of all, they call "jan" very close people: relatives, loved ones, friends. Parents or grandparents add "jan" after the child's name, such as "Ashot jan". This word is similar to a diminutive suffix in Russian in this sentence, so it can be translated as "Ashotik". Nevertheless, you can also address a stranger with "jan". This is how they show their good disposition towards the interlocutor. The elderly people or doctors, for example, hear a respectful "jan" vey often. It sets up a friendly, peaceful communication.

Variants of the word "jan"

"Jan" is the most widely used form of the word. It occurs most frequently. But the forms "jana", "janik" and "janas" are also used. The word "jana" is applicable to girls, mostly they refer to women relatives or girlfriends with this word. They say "janik" when addressing children, both their own and someone else's. You may also hear the form of the word which sounds like "janas", which expresses belonging—"my dear".

Armenian language - incredibly interesting and very beautiful sounding. If you want to start learning it, we suggest contacting language schools in our directory or come to express courses from Move2Armenia Culture.

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What is "jan" and how to use this word?
  • Natalia
    13.07.2023 в 22:52

    It's very nice when I hear in your address)

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