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This Proto-Algonquian entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.


Alternative forms[edit]


A compound of *aʔt (set in place) + *-a·py (string).

Bows probably postdate the breakup of Proto-Algonquian proper; this compound seems to have been formed at a later date: reflexes are found in both Central and Eastern, but they show variations that prevent a PA term from being reconstructed cleanly.[1]



  1. bow (bowstring) (weapon)


  • Central Algonquian:
    • Cree: uchape (bow (for shooting)), achape (bow))
    • Miami: (nin)atiapi ((my) bowstring) (possibly obsolete)
    • Ojibwe: achaab -iig (bow) NW, achaab -iin (bowstring)
  • Eastern Algonquian:

See also[edit]

Contrast these terms used in these languages:

Blackfoot: náámayi (bow);
Cree pimotâkan/ᐱᒧᑖᑲᐣ (pimotaakan, bow and arrow);
Mahican sachkenáu (bow (weapon)) (alternative spelling 'thkenághoo).


  • Papers of the ninth Algonquian Conference (edited by William Cowan) (1978): ottump 'a bow' [] *ahta·pya 'bow'
  • The Languages of Native America: historical and comparative assessment, edited by Lyle Campbell and Marianne Mithun (1979): 'bow' < PA *ahta·pya > Unami hatá·p·iak;
  • Archaeology of Eastern North America, volume 15 (1987), page 5:
    Proto-Eastern Algonquian had a word for "bow", *aʔta·pya (a compound of aʔt-, "set in place" and -a·py, "cord, string"; []
  • Northeast Anthropology, issues 46-50 (1993), page 6:
    The existence of cognate terms for bow and arrow has been noted previously. Siebert (1975:319) cited only one instance of the Proto-Algonquian "bow" word, *aʔta·pya (literally, 'string set in place'), in Central Algonquian languages, namely Cree ahča·piy (or ašča·piy in the Montagnais dialect). However, another Central Algonquian language, Miami, also has a recorded form, (nin)atiapi ('[my] bowstring') (Voegelin 1938-1940:387) which at least appears to be cognate. The more common term in Central Algonquian languages is derived from 'wood' or 'stick' (e.g., Menominee meqteks Ojibwa mettikwap, and Fox mehtekwapi); Goddard (1974) reconstructs Proto- Algonquian *meʔtekwa·pyi "bowstring".
  1. ^ See e.g. Costa's arguments here.