Cossack

Cossack

[kos-ak, -uhk]
noun
(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:
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

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World English Dictionary
Cossack (ˈkɒsæk)
 
n
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
 
adj
2.  of, relating to, or characteristic of the Cossacks: a Cossack dance
 
[C16: from Russian kazak vagabond, of Turkic origin]

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Word Origin & History

Cossack
1598, from Rus. kozak, from Turk. quzzak "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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