plural Abipones
or Abipón
like singular
: an American Indian people resident in the Argentine Chaco in the eighteenth century
: a member of such people
: the Guaicuruan language of the Abipones

Word History


Spanish abipón and New Latin Abipones (plural), borrowed from Abipón (18th-century orthography) aoipon, a self-designation

Note: Evidently a self-designation. Elena Najlis, Lengua Abipona ([Buenos Aires]: Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, 1966), vol. 2, p. 41 has aoipon from material in Martin Dobrizhoffer's Historia de Abiponibus (Vienna, 1784), her primary source. A reprint of the German translation of Dobrizhoffer (also Vienna, 1784), containing only the linguistic chapter (Des Abbé Martin Dobrizhoffer Auskunft über die Abiponische Sprache, Leipzig, 1902), has the following passage: "Statt bin ich Abiponer, sagen sie Aym Abipon [grave accents over the final nasals omitted], ich ein Abiponer" ("For 'I am an Abipon' they say 'Aym Abipon,' 'I Abipon'") (p. 33). This is surely a confirmation that, at least for the Abipones Dobrizhoffer knew, Abipon was an autonym. According to OED3 (Draft entry June 2009), "The name is reported (in Azara Descripción e Historia Paraguay (1814) 242) to have been given by the Spanish and is probably not a self-designation." What Félix de Azara actually says about the Abipones is the following: "Los españoles les dan este nombre, los lenguas el de Ecusginå y los enimagas el de Quiabanabaité." ("The Spaniards give them this name, [while] the Lengua [call them] Escugina and the enemies Quiabanabaité") He gives the same information here as he does elsewhere in a lengthy catalog of indigenous peoples, that is, the name in Spanish, in the language of "los enimagas" [i.e., the Maká], and in the language of "los lenguas" [the Lengua]—the Makás and Lenguas being Indians closer to Asunción that Azara most likely knew best. So Azara really says nothing about what the Abipones might have called themselves; since he knew them only secondhand, he was not in a position to know.

First Known Use

1717, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of Abipón was in 1717

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Cite this Entry

“Abipón.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Abip%C3%B3n. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

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