Who were called “katsaps”?  Linguistic study experience

Who were called “katsaps”?  Linguistic study experience

There are two versions of the etymology of the word “katsap” – in some ways complementary, and in others mutually exclusive. Let’s try to dive into the study of these versions and their linguistic assessment.

The Turkic version of the word “katsap” interprets it as “butcher”, “killer of a living soul” with a sharply negative meaning, since it does not mean the profession of a specialist in the slaughter of domestic animals, but a completely different type of activity – the cruel attitude of a victorious warrior towards a defeated enemy, including non-combatants from the losing people or country. The overlay on the geographical map of Eurasia of the historical and chronological markers of the most important military campaigns of the Muscovites surprisingly coincides with the places of the most brutal reprisals against civilians of the defeated peoples – both in Europe and Asia. And many Muscovite military leaders became famous for such reprisals – from Andrei Kurbsky to Georgy Zhukov and Colonel Budanov. Of course, this includes the guardsmen of Ivan the Terrible, and the “hatchlings of Petrov’s nest” like Menshikov and Sheremetyev, and Catherine’s favorites along with Suvorov, and many others. In wars with political competitors such as Turkey and Austria, as well as in colonial wars in Central Asia and many other regions, Russian soldiers showed not only ruthlessness towards the enemy – which is generally understandable in war conditions – but often unmotivated bestial cruelty, including towards the civilian population. Mother Russia (Muscovy) approved and encouraged such cruelty, and “soldiers – brave guys” willingly responded to such approval with atrocities. I will not give examples, there are too many of them, and they are freely available on the Internet.

The second version of the etymological interpretation belongs to the Ukrainians, who allegedly called Muscovites “katsaps” for their long beards – from the distorted homophone “like tsap”, i.e. “like a goat.”

Since the “khokhols-Ukrainians” (khokhol means forelock), for traditional-mystical (and at the same time hygienic) reasons, shaved their heads, leaving only forelocks, the Muscovites, whose hair were cut as if they had a bowl on their heads and were all bearded, aroused their surprise. Comparing them with goats  obviously appeared.

In this case, we recall an interesting episode from Stepan Razin novel by Alexei Pavlovich Chapygin, the Russian writer,

“A Zaporozhian Cossack, squinting because of the sun, when the barber began to scrape his head, with a crash, as if peeling scales from a large fish, shouted,

– Hey, well! Shave, lad, smoothly, just do not cut the forelock. Gozdek (knot) does not exist among the Zaporozhian Cossacks, gozdek exists among the Donets – they grow hair, the Zaporozian Cossacks have mustaches, they do not need beards! It is Muscovite beauty… A Zaporozian Cossack cannot have a beard, Iaik Cossacks have it, and they also pay tribute to Muscovy.”

And now I will take courage to propose one more – the author’s theory of the origin of the word “katsap”, which does not pretend to be scientifically reliable…

So, let me clarify!

The word “Katsap” means a representative of one of the most civilized nations of Eurasia, famous for his love of freedom and democracy, as well as sobriety and intelligence in everyday life. So, when they say “katsap”, they mean a person who is delicate, friendly, reserved, intelligent, and most importantly, a non-drinker. So I described all this – and you could immediately see a typical Russian person, well, exactly the same as you will meet in any Russian regional center if you walk  three hundred meters from the bus station and approach a grocery store or a market, where they gather to conduct scientific disputes Well, you understand, you meet such intellectuals every day… These are the very “katsaps”. Did you recognize them? That is good!

And now the main thing: you should not come close to the katsaps, I advise you this from the bottom of my heart. There is no need for that – that’s all! Because the katsaps are still the katsaps!

Leave a Reply