Student Dictionary

One entry found for mustang.
Main Entry: mus·tang
Pronunciation: primarystressmschwas-secondarystresstaeng
Function: noun
Etymology: 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"
1 : a small hardy wild horse of the western plains of the U.S. that is directly descended from horses brought in by the Spaniards
2 : BRONCO 1
Word History 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 more and more common in the western plains of the United States, English borrowed the Mexican Spanish word mestengo as mustang.

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