Khanum, Khanom, or Khanoum (Kazakh: Hanym, Arabic: ?, Uzbek: Xonim, Azerbaijani: Xan?m, Turkish: Han?m, Persian: ?, Hindi: , Bengali: /?, Urdu: ?, Albanian: Hanëm) is a female royal and aristocratic title that was originally derived through a Central Asian title, and later used in the Middle East and South Asia. It is the feminine equivalent of the title Khan for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Mongol tribes living north and northwest of modern-day China. "Khan" is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289. The Rourans were the first people who used the titles Khagan and Khan for their emperors, replacing the Chanyu of the Xiongnu, whom Grousset and others assume to be Turkic.
Today, the term is used as a way to respectfully address women of any social rank. "Khanum" is the eastern equivalent of "madam", or more colloquially, "ma'am".
In the original meaning "begum" and "khanum" are the feminine equivalents or counterparts of "beg" and "khan"--like the English "lord" and "lady".