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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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, such as 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 [Buck], but in some sources it is given as perhaps literally "thunderstruck," from Latin attonius, whence also Spanish atonar "to stupefy."


Etymology 1 a. crazy, mad Etymology 2

a. stupid, silly, dumb, foolish n. 1 A fool, a stupid person 2 goof


Tonto is a fictional character, the either Potawatomi or Comanche companion of the Lone Ranger, a popular American Western character created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Tonto has appeared in radio and television series and other presentations of the characters' adventures righting wrongs in 19th century western America.

In Spanish, "tonto" translates as "moron" or "fool". In the Spanish dubbed version, the character is called "Toro" (Spanish for "bull") or "Ponto". In the Italian version the original name is retained, despite the fact that its meaning in Italian is the same as in Spanish.

Tonto made his first appearance on the 11th episode of the radio show, which originated on the Detroit, Michigan, radio station WXYZ. Though he became well known as the Lone Ranger's friend, Tonto was originally created just so the Lone Ranger would have someone with whom to talk. Throughout the radio run (which spanned 21 years), with only a few exceptions, Tonto was played by American actor John Todd.

This character was portrayed on television (arguably the most well-remembered version today) by Jay Silverheels. This was the highest-rated television program on the ABC network in the early 1950s and its first true "hit".

In The Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour, he was voiced by Ivan Naranjo, a Blackfoot/ Southern Ute actor who hailed from Colorado.

Michael Horse portrayed Tonto in the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger. The most recent portrayal was by Johnny Depp in the 2013 Disney film The Lone Ranger.

Tonto (disambiguation)

Tonto is the fictional sidekick to the Lone Ranger. Tonto may also mean:

  • Tonto Apache people, a band of Apache Native Americans.
  • "Tonto" (song), by the American math rock band Battles, from their album Mirrored.
    • Tonto+, the EP centered on the song.
  • Tonto (beverage), an alcoholic beverage from Uganda.
  • Tonto (Metabarons), a character in the Metabarons comic book.
  • Tonto's Expanding Head Band, acronym for their analog synthesizer system.
  • Tonto National Forest, national forest in the US State of Arizona.
  • Tonto National Monument, a national monument preserving American Indian cliff dwellings in Arizona.
  • Tonto River, a river in Mexico.
  • Merlin Tonto, a hybrid personal computer/telecommunications terminal.
  • Tonto, Spanish and Italian word for silly or dumb.
Tonto (Metabarons)

Tonto is the fictional robot servant of the Castaka family since the time of Aghnar, and the narrator of their tale in the Metabarons comic book.

Tonto (beverage)

Tonto is a traditional Ugandan fermented beverage made from bananas. It is also referred to as mwenge bigere.

Tonto is made by ripening green bananas in a pit for several days. The juice is then extracted, filtered, and diluted before being mixed with ground and roasted sorghum. This mixture is fermented for two to four days.

Tonto has an alcohol content ranging from six to eleven percent by volume.

The production of tonto is a source of income for many families in the banana-growing regions of central and western Uganda.

Usage examples of "tonto".

As if rehearsed, Tonto, standing close to his fellows, whistled the same notes in return but stopped short of the last two.

Two guilder stone carvers watched and listened, their tools laid neatly before them, Tonto and X.

MacArthur looked skyward and saw Captain and Tonto soaring overhead, the hunters his nearly constant companions.

Captain and Tonto glided low over the tundra grasses, coming straight for him.

The other hunters tumbled backward as the laughing MacArthur regained his feet, hugging Tonto close to his chest.

MacArthur, sucking on thickweed, waved at Tonto and Bottlenose, signaling them to come no closer.

MacArthur responded with two chirps, and Tonto hopped from the wet darkness.

This time it was Tonto who spoke, throwing Daniel a white-toothed grin, as if something funny were going on.

Daniel saw Tonto crawling through a hollowed out cabinet on his hands and knees.

Her voice was so gentle that Daniel suspected his wound might be a bit more serious than she and Tonto had been telling him it was.

A few minutes later they were on their way, with Lisa and Tonto riding in the ambulance with him and Nancy.

She was interrupted by the hospital crash cart being pushed into the room, with Tonto leading the way.

Free-Look Jones went and stabbed him in the neck just because Tonto caught him cheating at cards.

Doan had left appended to Tonto Charlie, and for all he knew it might really be the same one.

Newpeace and Tonto are merely their most recent conquests, and the closest to Earth.