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A member of a people of southern European Russia and adjacent parts of Asia. Many Cossacks served as cavalrymen in the armies of the czars.

[Russian kazak and Ukrainian kozak, both from South Turkic qazaq, adventurer; see Kazakh.]

Cos′sack′ adj.


(Historical Terms) (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
(Historical Terms) of, relating to, or characteristic of the Cossacks: a Cossack dance.
[C16: from Russian kazak vagabond, of Turkic origin]


(ˈkɒs æk, -ək)

1. a member of any of a number of self-governing communities of varied ethnic affiliation that developed on the S and E frontiers of the Muscovite state and Poland-Lithuania after c1400: all were eventually incorporated into czarist Russia.
2. a mounted soldier of a military unit drafted from any of these communities.
[1590–1600; < Polish kozak or Ukrainian kozák, ultimately < a Turkic word taken to mean “adventurer, freebooter”]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Cossack - a member of a Slavic people living in southern European Russia and Ukraine and adjacent parts of Asia and noted for their horsemanship and military skillCossack - a member of a Slavic people living in southern European Russia and Ukraine and adjacent parts of Asia and noted for their horsemanship and military skill; they formed an elite cavalry corps in czarist Russia
Slav - any member of the people of eastern Europe or Asian Russia who speak a Slavonic language


A. ADJcosaco m
B. Ncosaco/a m/f


nKosak(in) m(f)
References in classic literature ?
Listen in the north, my boys, there's trouble on the wind; Tramp o' Cossack hooves in front, gray great-coats behind, Trouble on the Frontier of a most amazin' kind, Trouble on the waters o' the Oxus!
They knew that their colonel's hand had closed, and that he who broke that iron discipline would not go to the front: nothing in the world will persuade one of our soldiers, when he is ordered to the north on the smallest of affairs, that he is not immediately going gloriously to slay Cossacks and cook his kettles in the palace of the Czar.
Dirkovitch was a Russian - a Russian of the Russians - who appeared to get his bread by serving the Czar as an officer in a Cossack regiment, and corresponding for a Russian newspaper with a name that was never twice alike.
The Lushkar team came, and Dirkovitch came, in the fullest full uniform of a Cossack officer, which is as full as a dressing-gown, and was introduced to the Lushkars, and opened his eyes as he regarded.
Now and then he volunteered a little, a very little, information about his own sotnia of Cossacks, left apparently to look after themselves somewhere at the back of beyond.
He was fraternising effusively with the captain of the Lushkar team, who was wondering how many of Dirkovitch's Cossacks his own dark wiry down- countrymen could account for in a fair charge.
It is not good that a gentleman who can answer to the Queen's toast should lie at the feet of a subaltern of Cossacks.
The Grand Duke was dressed in the handsome and showy uniform of a Cossack officer.
Shyness and timidity had brought the color to a face which had nothing very remarkable about it save a certain flatness of feature which called to mind the Cossack and Russian countenances that since the disasters of 1814 have unfortunately come to be so widely known in France.
Some time after this we saw them move a little to our right, and expected them on the rear: when a cunning fellow, a Cossack of Jarawena, calling to the leader of the caravan, said to him, "I will send all these people away to Sibeilka.
I came to it by accident, and without any manner, of preoccupation in The Cossacks, one of his early books, which had been on my shelves unread for five or six years.
Oh, if they ran away, then we'd have grape-shot or Cossacks with whips behind them," said the prince.