First attested 1584 in the (now obsolete) spelling Esquimawe
, from French Esquimaux
(“Eskimos (plural)”), from Spanish esquimao
(used by Basque fishermen in Labrad), from Old Montagnais ayaškimew
(“snowshoe-netter”) (compare Montagnais assime·w
(“she laces a snowshoe”), Ojibwe aškime·, aagimike
). The name was originally applied by the Innu
people to the Mi'kmaq and later transferred to the Labrador Inuit; see the usage notes below. It was also once thought to mean "eaters of raw meat", but most authorities now dismiss this.