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Cossack

[kos-ak, -uh k]
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noun
  1. (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.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

Cossack

noun
  1. (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
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Cossacksa Cossack dance
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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

Word Origin and History for cossack

Cossack

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper