Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

mustang

play
noun mus·tang \ˈməs-ˌtaŋ\

Simple Definition of mustang

  • : a small and strong wild horse of western North America

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of mustang

  1. 1 :  a small hardy naturalized horse of United States western plains directly descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards; also :  bronc

  2. 2 slang :  a commissioned officer (as in the United States Navy) who has risen from the ranks

Origin of mustang

Mexican Spanish mestengo, from Spanish, stray, from mesteño strayed, from mesta annual roundup of cattle that disposed of strays, from Medieval Latin (animalia) mixta mixed animals


First Known Use: 1808


MUSTANG Defined for Kids

mustang

play
noun mus·tang \ˈmə-ˌstang\

Definition of mustang for Students

  1. :  a small hardy wild horse of the western United States that is descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards



History for mustang

Centuries ago in Spain, stray cattle were rounded up each year and sold. The Spanish word for this roundup of strays, mesta, came from a Latin phrase that meant “mixed animals” (animalia mixta). From mesta, the Spanish made another word, mestengo, that meant “a stray animal.” In Mexico, this word was used for a kind of wild horse. That is where English mustang came from.


Learn More about mustang


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mustang? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to expose to danger or risk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ