va·​que·​ro | \ vä-ˈker-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce vaquero (audio) \
plural vaqueros

Definition of vaquero

: herdsman, cowboy used in reference to cowboys in areas (such as Mexico and the southwestern U.S.) where Spanish is spoken Just as they were among the most accomplished of all horsemen, vaqueros were masters of the rope which they called reata.— Martin W. SandlerOn the third day the vaqueros brought a small herd of wild three year old colts down from the mesa and penned them …— Cormac McCarthyThe study, called "Fajitas South Texas Style," leaves its readers with images of gringo cowboys and Mexican vaqueros eating tough pieces of skirt steak seared directly on the hot coals of their campfires and then wrapped in tortillas.— Mary Davis Suro

Examples of vaquero in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yes, the city removed it in 2018, but only after at least 25 years of complaints from Native Americans about the depiction of one of their ancestors lying nearly naked at the feet of a Spanish vaquero and a missionary. Heather Knight,, "Toppling of SF statues springs from city’s long history of inaction: ‘It fell on deaf ears’," 26 June 2020 Imagine, say, a quiche made with jalapeños, spinach, queso fresco and cilantro, or that vaquero cowboy steak, sauced with a wine reduction including huitlacoche, the truffle-like corn fungus., "Review: 'Mexican fusion’ falls short at family-friendly Fresca Tequila in Colchester," 5 Oct. 2019 Santa Maria barbecue traces its roots to beef cooked over open fires by Mexican cowboys, or vaqueros, who worked the local ranches in the 19th century. Julia Thompson, USA TODAY, "Cooking over open flame: These are some of our favorite restaurants that use fire," 27 June 2019 Like the zoo, the Witte has five actors who play a range of characters, including a cowboy, a vaquero, a paleontologist and an archaeologist. Deborah Martin,, "San Antonio Zoo using actors to educate visitors about its animals," 5 July 2019 The boots were custom-made in León, Mexico, a city that is famous for its vaquero boots. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "The Bride Wore Luar and Celebrated Indigenous Traditions at This Wedding in Mexico," 2 Aug. 2018 At the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, check out the gallery dedicated to Old West artist Edward Borein, whose etchings, watercolors, and drawings honor the region’s traditional vaqueros. Sunset, "Santa Barbara Guidebook: What to See & Do Now," 22 Jan. 2018 To drive huge herds of cattle to the markets, the Florida cattlemen used whips (an ancient tradition acquired from the vaqueros of Spain). Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Hardee County: Where Cracker history finds a home," 6 May 2018 In the 1880s, at the urging of Mark Twain and to the delight of Europeans, Cody transported hundreds of workers, cowboys, vaqueros, 90 American Indians, buffalo, horses, Annie Oakley and the Deadwood Stage to England, Germany and other countries. Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post, "Regional books: “Lakota Performers in Europe”," 15 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vaquero.' 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 vaquero

1826, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vaquero

borrowed from Spanish — more at buckaroo

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vaquero

Time Traveler for vaquero

Time Traveler

The first known use of vaquero was in 1826

See more words from the same year

Statistics for vaquero

Cite this Entry

“Vaquero.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on vaquero

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vaquero

Comments on vaquero

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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