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Where the Ukrainian word "Cossack" originated from and what Kazakhstan has to do with it: an explanation

Julia PeschanskayaNews
How did the Ukrainian word "Cossack" originate?

Ukrainians are proud of their roots and history, especially of the strong and independent Cossacks. However, not everyone knows where this word originated from and why people were called this way.

The O. O. Potebnia Institute of Linguistics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine has published an explanation. The word "Cossack" is an ancient borrowing from Turkic languages.

Initially, Cossacks were people who separated from their family, tribe, or state and set out to seek a better life. It was also often used to describe those who were dissatisfied with the rule of the authorities and therefore moved to other places.

In modern Turkic languages, "Cossack" means a nomad, a free settler, or an independent person. For example, Crimean Tatar "qazaq" means a free and independent person, an adventurer, or a drifter. The root of the word is the same as in the verb "qazmaq", which means to wander, to travel.

The name of the Turkic people, the Kazakhs, comes from the same root. In the Kazakh word "kazak" both letters "k" are pronounced hard, but in Ukrainian and other European languages, the pronunciation with "kh" has taken root. Linguists believe that this was done to distinguish the Turkic people from the Cossacks.

The name of the country Kazakhstan can be literally translated as the country of free people because the part "stan" means "land, place, country".

Earlier, OBOZ.UA published an explanation of how "penknife" is called in Ukrainian.

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