[uh-pahsh, uh-pash; French a-pash]

noun, plural a·paches [uh-pah-shiz, uh-pash-iz; French a-pash] /əˈpɑ ʃɪz, əˈpæʃ ɪz; French aˈpaʃ/.

a Parisian gangster, rowdy, or ruffian.

Origin of apache

1735–45, Americanism; < French: Apache



noun, plural A·pach·es, (especially collectively) A·pach·e.

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.

Origin of Apache

1915–20; < Mexican Spanish, perhaps < Zuni ʔa·paču Navajos, presumably applied formerly to the Apacheans (Navajos and Apaches) generally
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apache

Contemporary Examples of apache

Historical Examples of apache

  • It is a little better than the work of an Apache, but not quite so good as that of a Cheyenne.

  • His face was as copper-colored as an Apache's and as motionless.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • “Break no brush and make all tracks like an Apache on the trail,” she said.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • The bullet missed, as most Apache bullets had a habit of doing.

    When the West Was Young

    Frederick R. Bechdolt

  • Hope we can ride together often enough for me to hear about the old Apache days.

    The Treasure Trail

    Marah Ellis Ryan

British Dictionary definitions for apache



a Parisian gangster or ruffian

Word Origin for apache

from French: Apache



plural Apaches or 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 for Apache

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

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