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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 apaches
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • By the time he had gained the shelter a dozen apaches were firing at him.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • To him the Bruncknow house meant shelter from the apaches; that was all.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • A settler had lost a cow and he had accused the apaches of stealing the animal.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • Many promises had been made to the apaches but none had been kept.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • And now, where force had failed them, the apaches resorted to diplomacy.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
British Dictionary definitions for apaches


/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 apaches


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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apaches in Culture
Apaches [(uh-pach-eez)]

A tribe of Native Americans who live in the southwestern United States. Geronimo was an Apache.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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