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[muhs-tang] /ˈmʌs tæŋ/

a small, hardy horse of the American plains, descended from Spanish stock.
U.S. Navy Slang. a naval officer who received his commission while still an enlisted man.
verb (used without object)
to round up wild horses, especially in order to sell them illegally to slaughterhouses.
a small breed of horse, often wild or half wild, found in the southwestern US

“small, half-wild horse of the American prairie,” 1808, from Mexican Spanish mestengo “animal that strays” (16c.), from Spanish mestengo “wild, stray, ownerless,” literally “belonging to the mesta,” an association of cattle ranchers who divided stray or unclaimed animals that got “mixed” with the herds, from Latin mixta “mixed,” fem. past participle of miscere “to mix” (see mix (v.)).

Said to be influenced by the Spanish word mostrenco “straying, wild,” which is probably from mostrar, from Latin monstrare “to show.”


A commissioned officer who has been promoted from the enlisted ranks: A mustang who had worked his way up from the ranks in 13 years

[1847+ Armed forces; fr mustang, ”wild, sturdy horse of the Western US,” fr Mexican Spanish mestengo, ”stray animal”]


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