American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A member of a people of southern European Russia and adjacent parts of Asia, noted as cavalrymen especially during czarist times.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a military people inhabiting the steppes of Russia along the lower Don and about the Dnieper, and in lesser numbers in eastern Russia, Caucasia, Siberia, and elsewhere. Their origin is uncertain, but their nucleus is supposed to have consisted of refugees from the ancient limits of Russia forced by hostile invasion to the adoption of a military organization or order, which grew into a more or less free tribal existence. Their independent spirit has led to numerous unsuccessful revolts, ending in their subjection, although they retain various privileges. As light cavalry they form an element in the Russian army very valuable in skirmishing operations and in the protection of the frontiers of the empire.
- n. A member or descendant of an originally (semi-)nomadic population of Eastern Europe and the adjacent parts of Asia, that eventually settled in parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Russian tsarist Empire (where they constituted a legendary military caste) and the Soviet Union, particularly in areas now comprising southern Russia and Ukraine.
- n. A cossack, member of a military unit (typically cavalry, originally recruited exclusively from the above)
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. One of a warlike, pastoral people, skillful as horsemen, inhabiting different parts of the Russian empire and furnishing valuable contingents of irregular cavalry to its armies, those of Little Russia and those of the Don forming the principal divisions.
- n. 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
- 1600, French cosaque, from Russian казак (kazák) and Ukrainian козак (kozák), from Turkish qazaq ("free man, wanderer"). (Wiktionary)
- Russian kazak and Ukrainian kozak, both from South Turkic qazaq, adventurer; see Kazakh. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The voice, descriptions and tight pacing in those books contributed to creating a world away that enthralled young adults yearning to ride out boldly toward swashbuckling adventure, and Khlit the Cossack was the Harold Lamb character readers wanted to ride with the most.”
“A militia car swung into the space beside Yakov's battered Nissan, and Captain Marchenko emerged slowly, perhaps posing for a painting called The Cossack at Dawn, Arkady thought.”
“He called the Cossack with his horse, told him to put away the knapsack and flask, and swung his heavy person easily into the saddle.”
“True, Mazepa was well educated, a patron of the local arts and of the Orthodox Church, and he gave his name to the ornate style known as Cossack Baroque of the many churches built under his aegis.”
“Little did I dream, however, that at a place called Cossack, on the coast of the North-West Division of Western Australia, there was a settlement of pearl-fishers; so that, had I only known it, civilisation -- more or less -- was comparatively near.”
“To leave the house at night one has to call the Cossack, for otherwise the dogs would tear one to bits.”
“Musil's "Cossack" analogy is deeply flawed, and if his faint suggestion of anti-Semitism on my part was intentional then I resent it.”
“From then on in Russia, as a result of state propaganda, the word "Cossack," whether signifying a people or a caste, became a byword among many non-Cossacks for Orthodox extremism, the reactionary, and the retrograde.”
“Tonight he was wearing another uniform, but it was also pretty military looking, in a kind of Cossack way.”
“Cossack," but forebore making any reply on the instant.”
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