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  1. a small, hardy horse of the American plains, descended from Spanish stock.
  2. U.S. Navy Slang. a naval officer who received his commission while still an enlisted man.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to round up wild horses, especially in order to sell them illegally to slaughterhouses.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for mustang

colt, mare, stallion, filly, nag, crib, glass, trot, racehorse, cayuse, mustang, pinto, plug, pony, foal, steed, gelding, bronco

Examples from the Web for mustang

Contemporary Examples of mustang

Historical Examples of mustang

British Dictionary definitions for mustang


  1. a small breed of horse, often wild or half wild, found in the southwestern US
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Word Origin for mustang

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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper