Nobody knows for sure how the Ford Mustang got its name. It could have been suggested by designer John Najjar, who was a fan of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane, or by market research manager Robert Eggert, who bred mustang horses. A Ford representative actually made an official statement on the etymology, saying that it was uncertain and asking "does it even matter?". I guess not: one way or another, it leads to the name of the horse, which is from the Spanish word mestengo, meaning "stray" or "feral animal". That traces to mesta and Latin mixtus, meaning "mixed", due to the idea of wild animals attaching themselves to a flock of domesticated ones. Finally, through Proto-Italic miksko, mixtus derives from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction meik, also meaning "mix".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.