Ukraine name origin overview
The word Ukraina is first recorded in Hypatian Codex in 1187 as the name of Pereyaslav and Galician, meaning “okraina” (eng. outskirts).
There are several theories about “Ukraine” name origin. One of them says that the name originates from general Slavic “Ukraine”, “borderland”, which primarily referred to Kiev Rus border territories - Principality Pereyaslav, further to be the name also for the neighboring territories. Later on “Ukraina” (eng. Ukraine) name referred to borderlands with Polish Kingdom and North-East Rus.
Nowadays several Ukrainian scientists debate this etymology, stating that the word “kray” (eng. edge, border) is the basic in word “Ukraina”, but in the meaning “ukrainivaya” (“to ukraine” eng. chiselling, carving, cutting) the part of Slavic lands for living. There was also another version, stating that Ukraine name originates from word “kray” (eng. edge), “kraiyna” (eng. country, land) in the meaning “state”, “land populated with it’s people”, and “ukrayinets” (eng. Ukrainian) means “countryman”.
Till the start of 20th century Ukraine name was competing with Malaya Rus (eng. Little Russia). Bohdan Khmelnytsky was using this word while corresponding with Moscow empire. 18th-19th century saw the use of “ukrayintsi” (eng. Ukrainians) to avoid confusion with Russian (“velikorossy” eng. great Russians). The word “rusyny” is still preserved as the name for Easter-Slavic ethnic group leaving also in Western Ukraine and several other countries.