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.
- Central Algonquian:
- Eastern Algonquian:
- *meʔtekwi (“stick”), *meʔtekwa (“tree”), *meʔtekwa·pyi (“bow (bowstring)”), whence Arapaho beeté' (“bow”), Cheyenne ma'ta (“bow”) and ma'tāno (“bowstring”), Menominee mɛqtek (“piece of wood; stick; wood; bow”), Ojibwe mitigwaab (“bow (weapon)”), Fox mehtêha (“bow”)
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".