Definition of Apache in English:



  • 1A member of a North American Indian people living chiefly in New Mexico and Arizona. The Apache put up fierce resistance to the European settlers and were, under the leadership of Geronimo, the last American Indian people to be conquered.

    • ‘Missing from most historical accounts in Mexico and the US is how Apaches and Yoemem were forced to engage in struggles for survival.’
    • ‘After a bitter internal struggle the Apaches turned down the deal.’
    • ‘The last holdouts were the Apaches of Arizona and New Mexico.’
    • ‘The US has hundreds of tribes of Native Americans, from the larger and familiar names of Apache, Sioux, Cherokee and Mohicans to the smaller and lesser-known Catawba, Kalispel and Quapaw.’
    • ‘When Geronimo surrendered, a small group of Apaches escaped to the Sierra Madre of northern Mexico.’
    • ‘Ironically, Mowa Choctaw culture intersected with that of an even more famous group of dispossessed peoples, the Apaches.’
    • ‘Scholars at one time assumed that the arrival of the Apaches and Navajos played a role in the abandonment of those ancient centers of civilization.’
    • ‘Students turn their attention to the study of American Indian tribes, including the Hopi, Navajo, Apache and others.’
    • ‘Perched high on an escarpment above the Cibolo creek floodplain, this area was once an important hunting area for Apache and later the Comanche peoples.’
    • ‘Presumably the dioramas are referring to a different population, not the Apaches who shot at Rulfo's hero.’
    • ‘The imprints of the tribes such as the Navajo, Apache, Hopi and Zuni are visible on the land of Southwest.’
    • ‘The Piper Geronimo conversion isn't totally confined to the original Apaches.’
    • ‘We learned about the Apaches but not the Tohono O'odham; we heard a great deal about the Lakotas but nothing about the Walapais.’
    • ‘The white men who first encountered the Apaches incorrectly looked upon the Apaches as devil worshipers.’
    • ‘Historically recorded groups include Apaches, Comanches, Kickapoos, and Kiowas.’
    • ‘John Wayne plays Captain Kirby York, an experienced frontier officer who clashes with Fonda over the treatment of the Apaches.’
  • 2Any of the Athabaskan languages of the Apache, which have about 14,000 speakers altogether, though some are virtually extinct.

    • ‘Tracking and awareness are the same word in Apache.’
    • ‘He even said two Apache elders had been invited to help to translate passages of the script into Apache.’
    • ‘Regarding Apache language ability, most (95%) respondents 40 years of age and over speak Apache, compared to 41% of respondents age 39 and under; 88% of those 30 years and over speak Apache compared to 28% of those under 30.’
    • ‘I do not speak Apache fluently, but I think I have a fairly good grasp of some aspects of it.’
    • ‘Moving through the boys, Mike made quiet greetings with his relatives in Spanish, English, and Apache.’


  • Relating to the Apache or their language.

    • ‘Call me Geronimo, most famous of all Apache medicine men, but that is a name the Mexican soldiers gave to me; originally I was called Goyathlay, or, One Who Yawns.’
    • ‘We had lunch at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, a gorgeous resort hotel owned by the Apache nation.’
    • ‘The author also provides some great reading on cavalry life and low-intensity combat with the Navajo and Apache nations in the west between the Mexican and Civil Wars.’
    • ‘Before long their director was sending us to the Navajo and Apache reservations to share our music.’
    • ‘It dates from the days when Apache Indian raids were a daily concern.’
    • ‘John Russell is a white man who was raised by Apache Indians, and as an adult still finds himself most comfortable living amongst the Indian community.’
    • ‘No consideration was given to the fact that most Apache hostilities were self-defense or retaliation, and that they'd first been raided by the New Mexicans.’
    • ‘Bona fide featurettes include spots on the evolution of the story of the movie, the actual filming, casting the film, the score, and a bit about the Apache language.’
    • ‘However, in 1848, he decided to temporarily abandon the mine because of attacks by Apache Indians.’
    • ‘At one time an Army scout fluent in the Apache language, Horn has been credited with mediating the surrender of the great chief Geronimo to General Nelson A. Miles.’


From Mexican Spanish, probably from Zuni Apachu, literally enemy.

Definition of apache in English:



  • A violent street ruffian, originally in Paris.

    • ‘They whirl out of the clinch, as in an apache dance.’
    • ‘Although Verastique has only played one gay character - a fierce drag queen who performs an apache dance in Victor / Victoria - he feels that Broadway is becoming more progressive in its attitudes.’
    • ‘Next on the increasingly baffling agenda comes an apache dance for Bahiyah Sayyed-Gaines and Glenn A. Sims that is not merely gorgeous but also the one authentic moment in the piece.’
    • ‘Their battle is an apache dance, the black throwing the blond to the floor, the blond locking his legs around his opponent.’
    • ‘Vintage apache depicted a tough guy throwing a woman around the stage.’
    • ‘Variete de Variete is more decorated, filled with allusions to recognizable dance forms - a tango, an apache dance - with even the hint of a specific milieu.’


Early 20th century: French, from Apache, by association with the reputed ferocity of the American Indian people.