Word Origin & History
1745, from Amer.Sp. (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. Fr. journalistic sense of "Parisian gangster or thug" first attested
1902. Apache dance was the WWI-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 ro Dumas' "Les Mohicans de Paris" (1854-1859). It is probably due to the imitations of Cooper (amounting almost to plagiarisms) by Ger. author Karl May (1842-1912), that Apaches replaced Mohicans in popular imagination.