Otomis, Or Othoims, an Indian tribe in Mexico, inhabiting the state of Querétaro and most of Guanajuato, and numerous in the state of Mexico, with bands in Vera Cruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Michoacan, and San Luis Potosi, be-ing the most widely spread tribe after the Aztecs. They are regarded as one of the oldest of the Mexican tribes, occupying the valley of Mexico before the invasion of the Toltecs, who drove them to the mountains. After the fall of the Toltecs they recovered ground, but were again overcome by the Aztecs, who drove them out, but did not hold all their conquests. Some of the Otomi bands acquired a partial civilization from the Toltecs and Aztecs. The Otomis generally submitted to the Spaniards. Conni, an Otomi chief, became a Christian, and founded Querétaro. The Otomis in the Sierra Gorda, who had been converted, in 1686 revolted, and defeated and killed Gen. Zaraza, who was sent against them; but they were finally reduced by Ardela in 1715. They are a rude people, furnishing the unskilled labor in many parts of Mexico. Their language is peculiar. Otomi means "nothing stable;" but they style their language hia hiu, which means "language which remained." It is harsh and poor, abounding in monosyllables, with live distinct tones. A has three sounds, e five, i three, u four, and z three.
Nouns have no case, number, or gender. Na before a verb makes it a noun; before a noun it shows it to be singular, and ya denotes the plural. The verb is conjugated in its inseparable pronouns, the root remaining unchanged. There is a small grammar and dictionary of the Otomi by Luis de Neve y Molinia (Mexico, 1767), of which there is a French abridgment (Paris, 1863), with an attempt to show a relation between it and Chinese, but on slight grounds.