Definition of mustang
1 : a small hardy naturalized horse of U.S. western plains directly descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards; also : bronc
2 slang : a commissioned officer (as in the U.S. Navy) who has risen from the ranks
Origin and Etymology 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 English Language Learners
Definition of mustang for English Language Learners
: a small and strong wild horse of western North America
MUSTANG Defined for Kids
Definition of mustang for Students
: 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.
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