Word Origin & History
former term for the Western Apaches, from Sp., lit. "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 lit. "people without minds," and used to designate
the Western Apaches. Sp. tonto is originally a nursery word, used for its sound.