HAIDUK (also written Hayduk, Heiditc, Heyduke and Heyduque), a term which appears originally to have meant " robber " or " brigand," a sense it retains in Servia and some other parts of the Balkan Peninsula. It is probably derived from the Turkish haidud, " marauder," but its origin is not absolutely certain. Most of the European races with which the Turks came into close contact during the 15th and 16th centuries seem to have adopted it as a loan-word, and it appears in Magyar as hajdu (plural hajduk), in Serbo-Croatian, Rumanian, Polish and Cech as hajduk, in Bulgarian as hajdutin and in Greek as y_mvrovrri3. By the beginning of the 17th century its use had spread north and west as far as Sweden and Great Britain. In Hungary it was applied to a class of mercenary foot-soldiers of Magyar stock. In 1605 these haiduks were rewarded for their fidelity to the Protestant party (see HUNGARY: History) with titles of nobility and territorial rights over a district situated on the left bank of the river Theiss, known thenceforward as the Haiduk region. This was enlarged in 1876 and converted into the county of Hajdu (Ger. Hajduken). Hajd'U is also a common prefix in Hungarian place-names, e.g. Hajdu-Szoboszlo, Hajdu-Namas. In Austria-Hungary, Germany, Poland, Sweden and some other countries, haiduk came to mean an attendant in a court of law, or a male servant, dressed in Hungarian semi-military costume. It is also occasionally used as a synonym for " footman " or " lackey."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)