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[muhs-tang] /ˈmʌs tæŋ/
a small, hardy horse of the American plains, descended from Spanish stock.
U.S. Navy Slang. a naval officer who received his commission while still an enlisted man.
verb (used without object)
to round up wild horses, especially in order to sell them illegally to slaughterhouses.
Origin of mustang
1800-10, Americanism; < Spanish mestengo stray or ownerless beast, noun use of masculine adj.: pertaining to a mixed lot of beasts, equivalent to mest(a) such a mixed lot (< Latin (animālia) mixta mixed (beasts), neuter plural adj., taken as feminine singular noun; see mixed) + -engo adj. suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mustang
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yang was mounted on a mustang, while the doctor and Jack trudged through the dust.

    Fishing With The Fly Charles F. Orvis and Others
  • Nagger snorted his perception of water, and the mustang whistled.

  • All through the chores Jim and his father maintained strict silence about the mustang.

    Ticktock and Jim Keith Robertson
  • Seizing his bridle, he pulled his mustang round and galloped away.

    Kiddie the Scout Robert Leighton
  • One thing favored us and that is one of the peculiarities of the mustang, he will not leave his range unless driven from it.

    The Indians' Last Fight Dennis Collins
British Dictionary definitions for mustang


a small breed of horse, often wild or half wild, found in the southwestern US
Word Origin
C19: from Mexican Spanish mestengo, from mesta a group of stray animals
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mustang

"small, half-wild horse of the American prairie," 1808, from Mexican Spanish mestengo "animal that strays" (16c.), from Spanish mestengo "wild, stray, ownerless," literally "belonging to the mesta," an association of cattle ranchers who divided stray or unclaimed animals that got "mixed" with the herds, from Latin mixta "mixed," fem. past participle of miscere "to mix" (see mix (v.)).

Said to be influenced by the Spanish word mostrenco "straying, wild," which is probably from mostrar, from Latin monstrare "to show."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for mustang



A commissioned officer who has been promoted from the enlisted ranks: A mustang who had worked his way up from the ranks in 13 years

[1847+ Armed forces; fr mustang, ''wild, sturdy horse of the Western US,'' fr Mexican Spanish mestengo, ''stray animal'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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