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[uh-pahsh, uh-pash; French a-pash] /əˈpɑʃ, əˈpæʃ; French aˈpaʃ/
noun, plural apaches
[uh-pah-shiz, uh-pash-iz; French a-pash] /əˈpɑ ʃɪz, əˈpæʃ ɪz; French aˈpaʃ/ (Show IPA)
a Parisian gangster, rowdy, or ruffian.
Origin of apache
1735-45, Americanism; < French: Apache


[uh-pach-ee] /əˈpætʃ i/
noun, plural Apaches (especially collectively) Apache.
a member of an Athabaskan people of the southwestern U.S.
any of the several Athabaskan languages of Arizona and the Rio Grande basin.
Military. a two-man U.S. Army helicopter designed to attack enemy armor with rockets or a 30mm gun and equipped for use in bad weather and in darkness.
1915-20; < Mexican Spanish, perhaps < Zuni ʔa·paču Navajos, presumably applied formerly to the Apacheans (Navajos and Apaches) generally Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for apache
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Roberts picked up from the fort a Mescalero apache famous as a trailer.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • This was Geronimo's country, the land of the greatest of the apache fighters.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Amongst others, a middle-aged and particularly garrulous apache lady visited the American bivouac.

  • Jim turned and stood shoulder to shoulder with the apache chief.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • “Break no brush and make all tracks like an apache on the trail,” she said.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
British Dictionary definitions for apache


/əˈpɑːʃ; -ˈpæʃ; French apaʃ/
a Parisian gangster or ruffian
Word Origin
from French: Apache


(pl) Apaches, Apache. a member of a North American Indian people, formerly nomadic and warlike, inhabiting the southwestern US and N Mexico
the language of this people, belonging to the Athapascan group of the Na-Dene phylum
Word Origin
from Mexican Spanish, probably from Zuñi Apachu, literally: enemy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apache


1745, from American Spanish (1598), probably from Yavapai (a Yuman language) 'epache "people." Sometimes derived from Zuni apachu "enemy" (cf. F.W. Hodge, "American Indians," 1907), but this seems to have been the Zuni name for the Navajo.

French journalistic sense of "Parisian gangster or thug" first attested 1902. Apache dance was the World War I-era equivalent of 1990s' brutal "slam dancing." Fenimore Cooper's Indian novels were enormously popular in Europe throughout the 19c., and comparisons of Cooper's fictional Indian ways in the wilderness and underworld life in European cities go back to Dumas' "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1854-1859). It is probably due to the imitations of Cooper (amounting almost to plagiarisms) by German author Karl May (1842-1912) that Apaches replaced Mohicans in popular imagination. Also cf. Mohawk.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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