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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Dyaks \Dy"aks\, n. pl.; sing. Dyak. (Ethnol.) The aboriginal and most numerous inhabitants of Borneo. They are partially civilized, but retain many barbarous practices. [1913 Webster] ||


Dyak may refer to one of the following.

  • Dayak people, also called "Dyak", a native tribe of Borneo
  • Dyak (clerk) a historical position of head of office in Russia
Dyak (clerk)

Dyak (, ) is a historical Russian bureaucratic occupation whose meaning varied over time and approximately corresponded to the notions of "chief clerk" or "chief of office department".

A dyak was a title of the chief of a structural division of a prikaz. For example, "посольский дьяк" (posolsky dyak) is a dyak of the Posolsky Prikaz (Diplomacy Department). A duma dyak (думный дьяк) was the lowest rank in the Boyar Duma (15-17th centuries).

Outside of the grand princely administration, dyaki were also found in ecclesiastical (episcopal) administrations, particularly in Veliky Novgorod. In this sense they may be more broadly defined as secretaries or clerks. According to the Life of Archbishop Iona of Novgorod (r. 1458-1470), although he was a poor orphan, the woman who raised him hired a dyak to teach him reading and writing. Chronicle sources also indicate that Archbishop Feofil (r. 1470-1480) had his dyak write up a charter recognizing Grand Prince Ivan III's powers following the grand prince's seizure of the city in 1478.

After the Muscovite take-over, the office of dyak continued as one of the more important administrators of the House of Holy Wisdom, as the archiepiscopal (and later metropolitan) administration in Novgorod the Great was known. The Dvortsovyi Dyak essentially ran the financial and administrative affairs of the archbishops and metropolitans (they were so important that Boris Grekov wrote that one could not brew kvas in the city without his permission.) This, however, was after the Muscovite conquest, and the administrative structure of the House of Holy Wisdom had been reorganized along the lines of the grand princely administration in Moscow. Indeed, when Archbishop Sergei (1483–1484) arrived in Novgorod following his election, he was accompanied by a dyak and a treasurer who were to see that the archiepiscopal administration complied with Muscovite norms.

See also Voyevoda#Siberia, Podyachy.

Usage examples of "dyak".

At the same instant Muda Saffir with fifty of his head-hunting Dyaks emerged from the jungle east of the camp, bent on discovering the whereabouts of the girl the Malay sought and bearing her away to his savage court far within the jungle fastness of his Bornean principality.

Besides these there are stray Achinese, Africans, Anamese, Bengalis, Bugis, Dyaks, Manilamen, Siamese, and Singhalese, numbering 174.

Lawrence Blair, who lived awhile with the forest-dwelling Punan Dyaks of Borneo, wanted to accompany the Dyaks on one of their hunting expeditions.

Among three samples of Dyak fruit bats caught at different places and seasons, two included lactating males, lactating females, and pregnant females, but adults of both sexes in the third sample were reproductively inactive.

The Dyaks said that at its end there was a famous stand of durians, esteemed for their size, flavour and early ripening, and a heathen temple, just before the Thousand Steps.

The savage headdress of the Dyaks, the long, narrow, decorated shields, the flashing blades of parang and kris sent a shudder through the girl, so close they seemed beneath the schooner's side.

In subdued whispers he sent a half dozen of his Dyaks back beneath the shadow of the palisade to the opposite side of the bungalow where they were to enter the building, killing all within except the girl, whom they were to carry straight to the beach and the war prahus.

As he paused to listen there broke suddenly upon the still night the hideous war cries of the Dyaks, and the screams and shrieks of their frightened victims in the campong without.

Almost simultaneously Professor Maxon and Sing rushed into the living room to ascertain the cause of the wild alarm, while at the same instant Bududreen's assassins sprang through the door with upraised krisses, to be almost immediately followed by Muda Saffir's six Dyaks brandishing their long spears and wicked parangs.

The Dyaks, whose orders as well as inclinations incited them to a general massacre, fell first upon Bududreen's lascars who, cornered in the small room, fought like demons for their lives, so that when the Dyaks had overcome them two of their own number lay dead beside the dead bodies of Bududreen's henchmen.

Your father will be worried if we are long delayed, and he is anxious to make sail and escape before the Dyaks discover the location of the Ithaca.

His only motive for returning lay in his desire to prevent Virginia Maxon falling into the hands of the Dyaks, or, failing that, rescuing her from their clutches.

He had planted the seed of hatred and revenge within his untutored heart without avail, for he read in the dead bodies of Bududreen's men and the two Dyaks the story of Number Thirteen's defense of the man von Horn had hoped he would kill.

She thought that they were about to attack him, and gave a little cry of warning, but in another instant she realized that they were his companions, for with him they rushed to the side of the ship to stand for a moment looking down upon the struggling Dyaks in the water below.

For an instant the Dyaks attempted to hold their own, but in the face of the snarling, rending horde that engulfed them terror got the better of them all, so that those who were not overcome dived overboard and swam rapidly toward shore.