Definition of Cossack in US English:

Cossack

noun

  • 1A member of a people of southern Russia and Ukraine, noted for their horsemanship and military skill.

    The Cossacks had their origins in the 14th century when refugees from religious persecution, outlaws, adventurers, and escaped serfs banded together in settlements for protection. Under the tsars they were allowed considerable autonomy in return for protecting the frontiers; with the collapse of Soviet rule, Cossack groups have reasserted their identity in both Russia and Ukraine

    • ‘American leaders hoped the Cossacks and Russian officers would be able to block German access to Russian resources and would serve as a nucleus from which a democratic Russia could be regenerated.’
    • ‘Also on view will be the fabulous Russian Cossacks who always provide great entertainment.’
    • ‘Fedor Vasilevich Tokarev was the epitome of a Cossack from the Don River Basin of Russia.’
    • ‘The original gauchos were an equestrian ethnic group similar to North American cowboys and Ukrainian Cossacks.’
    • ‘There are 15,000 registered Cossacks in the Ukraine.’
    • ‘The leader of a band of independent Russian Cossacks, he spent his early career plundering the czar's ships on the Volga and later entered the service of a merchant family, the Stroganovs.’
    • ‘The tale is set in the Ukraine, among the Cossacks of the great Zaporozhian Sech (a large fortified island encampment on the river Dnieper).’
    • ‘Volume Seven, which was originally published in 1909, is the first volume of a subseries within the History entitled History of the Ukrainian Cossacks.’
    • ‘A descendant of Cossacks, born in the far reaches of Siberia (of a family of heroic pioneers), Mendeleyev clearly left an exotic impression on Sir William Ramsay when they met in 1884.’
    • ‘There was also a magnificent display by four Ukrainian Cossacks, pony club games, a trade show featuring 15 stands, a polo demonstration and foxhound and beagles show.’
    • ‘Thanks to the generosity of a number of local horsing enthusiasts the profile of the Cossacks and the skills they possess, can be viewed by members of the general public.’
    • ‘For adults and children alike there was a daring display of stunt riding by The Russian Cossacks who thrilled the crowd with their amazing stunts from the backs of galloping horses!’
    • ‘Popular equestrian attractions include the heart stopping Ukrainian Cossacks and hunt chase teams, the fast and exciting Pony Club games and elegant dressage demonstrations.’
    • ‘Indeed, it has been wrestled over so often by the Cossack and the Turk that little of the old city remains.’
    • ‘Among the highlights were displays of angling, clay shooting, gun dogs, falconry and the Ukrainian Cossacks who thrilled the crowds with their hair-raising display of horse riding.’
    • ‘A media preview last week featured frantic-looking horses running in tight circles around a circus ring while actual Russian acrobats dressed as Cossacks performed death-defying feats upon their backs.’
    • ‘The Ukrainians remind themselves that they are Cossacks and as such will never be forgotten or vanquished.’
    • ‘One of the most popular attractions over the two days was the horse riding displays in battle re-enactments by Ukrainian Cossacks.’
    • ‘By the early eighteenth century Siberia was conquered thanks to private efforts of merchants, Cossacks and other free people.’
    • ‘There were only Russians, Tatars, Poles, Cossacks, and Kalmucks, and a number of the figures are repeated.’
    1. 1.1 A member of a Cossack military unit.
      • ‘The Streltsy and the Cossacks were professional units but they were officered by foreigners.’
      • ‘A Cossack, rather than the cavalry, appeared on the horizon to save the day.’
      • ‘Red prefers his cutlass, but he has proven open to change, and fares quite well against pike men, Cossacks, and Norwegian Berserkers during training exercises.’
      • ‘In the south-east, they were complemented by troops of Cossacks.’
      • ‘As the dawn broke 700,000 people broke through the thin line of Cossacks.’
      • ‘In the bottom right hand corner can be seen the Cossacks with their red hats and lances.’
      • ‘As a commandant at Balaklava in the Crimean war he deliberately disobeyed his superior's orders, ordering his soldiers to form two rows with blades pointing outwards to face the charge of the Russian Cossacks.’
      • ‘Their military style followed that of the Mongols, and formations like the lava passed into the Russian army via the Cossacks.’
      • ‘In 1625, the year in which Hrushevsky ends this volume, the Cossacks launched a series of expeditions against Istanbul involving about 20,000 men in over 300 boats.’
      • ‘The Cossacks under Tettenborn again entered Bremen.’
      • ‘He had infantry, cavalry, arquebusiers, Cossacks and many Tartars, with heavy artillery, which was shipped down the Volga.’
      • ‘I was assailed by three Cossacks, and while keeping them at bay with my lance, a fourth came up to their assistance.’
      • ‘Combining forces with the Cossacks, who feared the loss of their land and privileges, army officers formed the White Army to engage in a war against Trotsky's Red Army.’
      • ‘Others again simply refused to go on, or were captured by the Cossacks - who had harried them throughout their retreat, and had starved the army to death by keeping it to one narrow highway.’
      • ‘In the old photos the cemetery hill is bare, but now it is wooded over, and the Hussars, Cossacks, infantrymen, grenadiers and all the rest are lying in the shade of the trees.’

adjective

  • Relating to or characteristic of the Cossacks.

    • ‘Soon a Cossack captain came out waving a white silk handkerchief.’
    • ‘They were so impressed that they presented him with a Cossack uniform, which he wore proudly when he had his portrait painted.’
    • ‘During the era of Cossack rule, other forms of music arose.’
    • ‘His seed variety is Don 95, named for a river that nurtured his Cossack ancestors.’
    • ‘He passed along the streets just as revolutionary and Cossack search parties were rushing out in search of him.’
    • ‘Six men in Cossack hats, coats and boots dance a march, pivoting to all six corners of the large kiosk.’
    • ‘After dying, the witch returns to her true form, that of a beautiful young woman who turns out to be the daughter of one of the Cossack chiefs.’
    • ‘I was on an adrenaline high from the day's activities, and wheeled out my Cossack dancing.’
    • ‘Beaded hats from Nizhni Novogorod and dolls of the golden-hued Cossack girls from the Ural region are key attractions.’
    • ‘Also, as a distinction of rank, she wore her ammo belts criss-crossed over her chest, Cossack style.’
    • ‘A woman who answered the telephone at the Arkhangelsk institute said no one was available to comment on the theft, and the Cossack organization could not be reached by phone.’
    • ‘I had no thermals, but cut a dash with pyjama bottoms under my jeans and a borrowed Cossack hat.’
    • ‘The social revolutions trigger frenzied backlash (the images of bodies in the snow reminiscent of the Cossack assault in Doctor Zhivago).’
    • ‘In 1654, where Ukrainians were fighting Polish rule, a Cossack leader named Mel Nitzche - that's him on the horse - swore allegiance to the Russian czar.’
    • ‘The second was the Cossack period, lasting from the middle of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘Its members claim descent from ancient Cossack families that inhabited regions associated with the Don, Kuban, and Terek Rivers.’
    • ‘On Saturday night I made a passable first attempt at Cossack dancing.’
    • ‘Even when his bike wobbled, his barnet didn't thanks to gallons of Cossack hairspray.’
    • ‘They chuck Arabic and Cossack riffs and countless other musical flavours at the sweat-soaked walls in the hope that some of them will stick.’
    • ‘The Russians gradually colonized the north, establishing Cossack settlements in the lowlands.’

Origin

From Russian kazak from Turkic, ‘vagabond, nomad’; later influenced by French Cosaque (see also Kazakh).

Pronunciation