mus·​tang ˈmə-ˌstaŋ How to pronounce mustang (audio)
: a small hardy naturalized horse of U.S. western plains directly descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards
also : bronc
slang : a commissioned officer (as in the U.S. Navy) who has risen from the ranks

Examples of mustang in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, Phoenix Among the saguaros in the Sonoran Desert, packs of beautiful wild mustangs gallop freely. Jennifer Kester, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Spanish mustangs, believed to have survived 16th-century shipwrecks, populate this coast. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 22 Feb. 2024 Still, creative life continues to flourish amid this influx, and environmental initiatives have taken off: Visitors can support a new sanctuary for displaced mustangs. Lucky Benson, New York Times, 14 Dec. 2023 Government lawyers said in court filings Monday the horse advocates are trying to inflame emotions with photos and videos of injured mustangs trying to flee helicopters and wranglers on horseback. The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Aug. 2023 Leigh and others sued after the death of several horses during a roundup a decade ago, and the bureau adopted a Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program in 2015 that among other things prohibits helicopters from making contact with the mustangs. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 July 2023 The new club space caps off an almost $30 million renovation of Williams Square, a landmark complex of three office towers surrounding a signature plaza with its sculptures of running mustangs. Steve Brown, Dallas News, 14 Apr. 2023 For 1966, Shelby toned the GT 350 down from a wild mustang to a merely high-strung thoroughbred. Car and Driver, 14 Sep. 2022 The first difficult chore, once a mustang has been brought to where it will be trained, is to get a halter on it. oregonlive, 27 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mustang.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mustang was in 1808

Dictionary Entries Near mustang

Cite this Entry

“Mustang.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


mus·​tang ˈməs-ˌtaŋ How to pronounce mustang (audio)
: a small hardy wild horse of the western plains of the U.S. that is directly descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards

from American Spanish mestengo "a wild or stray horse," from Spanish mestengo "a stray animal," derived from mesta "an annual roundup of stray cattle," from Latin (animalia) mixta "mixed animals"

Word Origin
Many American cowboy practices can be traced back to those of northern Mexico. One such practice is a yearly roundup of unbranded or stray cattle. Centuries ago in Spain, cattle without owners were rounded up each year and sold. The Spanish word for this roundup was mesta, which came from a Latin phrase that meant "mixed animals." From mesta, the Spanish created the word mestengo, meaning "a wild or stray animal." In the form of Spanish spoken in Mexico, mestengo came to be used for wild or stray horses. As these horses became common in the western plains of the U.S., English borrowed the Mexican Spanish word mestengo as mustang.

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Mu·​stang mu̇-ˈstäŋ How to pronounce Mustang (audio)
variants or locally Lo
historical Himalayan kingdom in remote northern Nepal bordered by Tibet on the west, north, and east

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