Where does the word “tartar” come from and What does tartar mean?

Chief among the Mongols ruled over by Genghis Khan were the people known as Ta-ta Mongols.

Through their warlike qualities they had extended his dominions, before his death in 1227, to embrace all China, had successfully invaded northern India and Persia, and had crossed the Caucasus Mountains, penetrating as far westward as the Volga and Dnieper rivers.

But it was under the successors of “the Great Khan” that these fierce warriors left their memory upon European countries for all time.

Known as Tartars (later more correctly spelled Tatars), these bloodthirsty hordes of the thirteenth century swept as far westward as Poland and Hungary, and into Palestine to the south. They massacred all who opposed, leaving smoking ruins behind them. (See also HORDE.)

From their early name tartar became synonymous with “savage,” and is still applied to any person of violent temper, or, if to a woman, to one who is notably shrewish.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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