June 16, 2017
wrangler (noun)
\RANG-gler\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a person who quarrels2 : a ranch hand who takes care of the saddle horses
How do you use it?
In researching her family history, Leah discovered that her great-grandfather had worked as a wrangler on one of the largest ranches in the West.
Are you a word wiz?

"Wrangler" has two very different meanings. The "quarreler" sense is older. How do you think the "cowboy" sense of "wrangler" may have developed?

No one is absolutely sure how a word that meant "one who quarrels" came to mean "one who cares for horses," but answer C gives a possible explanation. We know "wrangler" has been used in English for an argumentative person since the early 1500s. The word comes from the older verb "wrangle," which means "to bicker." The "cowboy" sense of "wrangler" seems to have developed in the American West. Spanish speakers there used the word "caballerango" for a ranch hand who took care of horses. English speakers apparently translated "caballerango" as "horse-wrangler" (maybe partly because "-rango" sounds like "wrangler"), which was eventually shortened to just "wrangler."
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