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Tonto

former term for the Western Apaches, from Spanish, literally "foolish;" probably a translation of a name given to the people by other branches of the Apache, e.g. Chiricahua Apache /bini:'édiné/, Mescalero Apache /bini:'édinendé/, both literally "people without minds," and used to designate the Western Apaches. Spanish tonto is said to be originally a nursery word, used for its sound.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Examples from the Web for tonto
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They had gone some distance into the wood, and quite out of sight of tonto by this time.

    The Mexican Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
  • He practices riding on tonto, the donkey, now, and he has had his own lasso since he was six.

    The Mexican Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
  • Bobo” his detractors might call him, or “tonto”—but never “pendejo” nor “traidor.

    The Gilded Man Clifford Smyth
  • Then, at sunset, tonto had returned with food and herbs to dress his injuries.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • tonto had been with him all night, plying the skill of the Indian in combating illness.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • The effort of even so short a talk with tonto seemed to have tired him.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • He felt of his three-day growth of beard and turned to tonto.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
  • The fact that he had survived the fight was known only to himself and tonto.

    The Lone Ranger Rides Fran Striker
Slang definitions & phrases for tonto

Tonto

noun

Any male American Indian

[1980s+; fr the faithful Indian companion of the cowboy hero the Lone Ranger, who first appeared in a 1930s Detroit radio series]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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