Stan is a Tyrannosaurus rex. He's been dead for quite a few millennia, like most (if not all) of his kind. His birth name wasn't Stan, but if he ever really had a name, his walnut-sized brain probably quickly forgot it in favor of "Kill! Eat! Kill!" The name Stan was given to him by the paleontologist who discovered his fossilized remains. This paleontologist's name was, surprisingly enough, Stan. The reason I know of this beautiful story is that the Fisher Science Center at Simon's Rock College contains a copy of Stan's skull in the lobby, thanks to the efforts of one enthusiastic and perhaps over-zealous student who attended a couple years ago. (That guy was a freak, but pretty cool once you got to know him.) For those of you who are interested in how the story of Stan ended, a small hole in the back of Stan's skull suggests that he met a tragic end when another dinosaur bit him in the head.

$country stan
So what does that suffix mean in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kreplachistan?

It is an old Persian word meaning homeland, country or nation.

  • Afghanistan: Unverified, probably named after an 9th century emperor
  • Kazakhstan: Land of the Cossacks
  • Kyrgyzstan: Land of the 40 Tribes
  • Pakistan: Land of Punjabi, Afghani and Kashmiri Islam
  • Tajikistan: Land of the Crowned People
  • Turkmenistan: Land of We, the Turks ('men' = We)
  • Uzbekistan: Land of the Real Men (this is not a joke)
  • Kreplachistan: Land of the Kosher Dumplings (this is).

From the suffix building so many country names, Stan has become internet slang for someone who is a zealot of a movement, political party, celebrity, or music group. Stan is also frequently verbed to indicate that you totally geek out over something; e.g., "this account stans the Copenhagen interpretation".

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