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Word Origin and History for tonto

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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

  • The fact that he had survived the fight was known only to himself and Tonto.

  • "As simple as all that," the masked man commented when Tonto finished his recital.