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.
The writers try to explain his mannerisms by revealing that tonto has an intense guilt complex.
And naturally, tonto comes to life when he sees the young boy so he can tell story of John Reid, the Lone Ranger.
Silver had his master in the saddle, tonto close behind him.
He practices riding on tonto, the donkey, now, and he has had his own lasso since he was six.
"Other Ranger all dead," said tonto, as the white man tried the mask and found it a perfect fit.
They had gone some distance into the wood, and quite out of sight of tonto by this time.
The fact that he had survived the fight was known only to himself and tonto.
Bobo” his detractors might call him, or “tonto”—but never “pendejo” nor “traidor.
He slapped the white horse firmly, repeating the name "tonto."
tonto looked a bit surprised, then glad that he was so trusted by the girl.
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]