Brazilian dance-based martial arts form, by 1922, from Brazilian Portuguese. Said to be from Tupi ka'a "forest" + pau "round," referring to the scrubby areas in the Brazilian interior where fugitive slaves would hide.
Capoeira: second growth of vegetation after land has been cleared. Also applied to kind of basket made of native grass; also to the Brazilian equivalent to jiu-jit-su; genuine capoeira adepts have remarkable muscular control. The term capoeira is also applied to a certain dance. [L.E. Elliott, "Brazil Today and Tomorrow," New York" 1922]