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[kos-ak, -uh k] /ˈkɒs æk, -ək/
(especially in czarist Russia) a person belonging to any of certain groups of Slavs living chiefly in the southern part of Russia in Europe and forming an elite corps of horsemen.
Origin of Cossack
1590-1600; < Polish kozak or Ukrainian kozák, ultimately < a Turkic word taken to mean “adventurer, freebooter,” adopted as an ethnic name by Turkic tribal groups of the Eurasian steppes Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Cossack
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I had with me, in the capacity of soldier-servant, a Cossack of the frontier army.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • I spread my felt cloak out on one bench, and the Cossack his on the other.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • My Cossack met me at the door with a frightened countenance.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • In about two hours' time, when all had grown silent in the harbour, I awakened my Cossack.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
  • Roughly shaking the Cossack, I woke him up, rated him, and lost my temper.

    A Hero of Our Time M. Y. Lermontov
British Dictionary definitions for Cossack


(formerly) any of the free warrior-peasants of chiefly East Slavonic descent who lived in communes, esp in Ukraine, and served as cavalry under the tsars
of, relating to, or characteristic of the Cossacks: a Cossack dance
Word Origin
C16: from Russian kazak vagabond, of Turkic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Cossack

1590s, from Russian kozak, from Turkish kazak "adventurer, guerilla, nomad," from qaz "to wander." The same Turkic root is the source of the people-name Kazakh and the nation of Kazakhstan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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