mes·​quite | \ mə-ˈskēt, me-\

Definition of mesquite 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: any of several spiny leguminous trees or shrubs (genus Prosopis and especially P. glandulosa) chiefly of the southwestern U.S. that often form extensive thickets and have sweet pods eaten by livestock also : the wood of the mesquite used especially in grilling food


geographical name
Mes·​quite | \ mə-ˈskēt, me-\

Definition of Mesquite (Entry 2 of 2)

city in northeastern Texas east of Dallas population 139,824

Illustration of mesquite

Illustration of mesquite


mesquite: 1 flower and leaves, 2 pod

In the meaning defined above

Examples of mesquite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Instead of skirt steak, the beef fajitas are Certified Angus Beef sirloin grilled over mesquite; chicken fajitas meat is cooked rotisserie style. Houston Chronicle, "Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants to try," 10 May 2018 Skye Parrott The agents emerge from the squat mesquite brush with three 30-something men: two wearing boots and one in canvas sneakers. Skye Parrott, Marie Claire, "What It's Like to Be a Female Border Patrol Agent," 5 Dec. 2017 The mesquite coals put a shiny glaze over the brisket fat, sealing in the juice underneath. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "52 Weeks of BBQ: Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que," 13 July 2018 This day, Hurley is simply walking, making his way past the saguaros and mesquite, a route that will take nearly two hours in what will become another 100-degree afternoon. Doug Haller, azcentral, "ASU basketball's Bobby Hurley finds a home in the Arizona desert," 9 July 2018 The meat is either cooked on a flat-top griddle or charbroiled over mesquite (my favorite). Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "Best burgers in the Bay Area from the 2018 Top 100 restaurants," 12 June 2018 The myriad shades of green of the mesquites and oaks and a scores of shrubs and grasses. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "For hunters, South Texas colors a feast for the senses," 3 May 2018 Keegan instead uses mesquite, a hardwood tree that can grow throughout the dry Southwest due to its unique dual root system: a deep tap that draws subsurface moisture, and a sprawling lateral network that picks up slight rainfall. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "Americans Are Making Great Single-Malt Whiskey Now," 19 May 2018 The smuggler escaped back to Mexico on a dirt road surrounded on both sides by a lush landscape of mesquite trees and thorny brush. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "US border agent chases people smuggler back into river near Texas in dramatic video," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mesquite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of mesquite


1759, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mesquite


American Spanish, from Nahuatl mizquitl

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mesquite

Statistics for mesquite

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mesquite

The first known use of mesquite was in 1759

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mesquite



English Language Learners Definition of mesquite

: a tree or bush that grows in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico and that has a hard wood which is often used in grilling food because of the special flavor produced by its smoke; also : the wood of the mesquite


mes·​quite | \ mə-ˈskēt \

Kids Definition of mesquite

: a spiny shrub or small tree of the southwestern United States and Mexico

More from Merriam-Webster on mesquite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mesquite Encyclopedia article about mesquite

Comments on mesquite

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


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!