|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|
|2.||of, relating to, or characteristic of the Cossacks: a Cossack dance|
|[C16: from Russian kazak vagabond, of Turkic origin]|
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.