[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cossacks

British Dictionary definitions for cossacks

/ (ˈkɒsæk) /


(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 Cossacksa Cossack dance

Word Origin for Cossack

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

Culture definitions for cossacks

[ (kos-aks) ]

A people in southern Russia who became aggressive warriors during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In place of taxes, they supplied the Russian Empire with scouts and mounted soldiers. The Cossacks are also famed for their dances, which feature fast-paced music and seemingly impossible leaps.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.