See also: cossack
1600, French cosaque, from Polish Kozak, from Ukrainian коза́к (kozák) (cf. Russian каза́к (kazák) or коза́к (kozák) (older spelling)), from a Turkic word quzzāq meaning “free man, wanderer”. Cognate with Kazakh.
Cossack (plural Cossacks)
- A member or descendant of an originally (semi-)nomadic population of Eastern Europe and the adjacent parts of Asia, formed in part of runaways from the neighbouring countries, that eventually settled in parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Russian tsarist Empire (where they constituted a legendary military caste), particularly in areas now comprising southern Russia and Ukraine.
- A member of a military unit (typically cavalry, originally recruited exclusively from the above)
member of a population
member of a Cossack military unit
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