Matsumoto (2017:198 n 177) notes that "the ajpatan (lit. 'those of the tribute') were those who paid tribute (Carmack 1979:81; e.g., Coto 1983 [1656]:403; Guzmán 1984:68). In pre-Columbian times, patan referred not only to tribute duties but also to “a variety of obligations of life,” such as tending the milpa or aiding community members (Hill 1992:138). After the Conquest, its semantic field widened to include service and economic obligations to the colonial government and the Catholic Church (Hill 1992:138; e.g., Coto 1983 [1656]:377).


Señala el lingüista k'iche' Sam Colop (2008: 252fn339) que "Este nombre proviene del náhuatl, tepetl, 'montaña' (Kartunnen, 1992), y -po: l, 'grande' (Campbell, 1983."