Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short red cape suspended from a hollow staff, used by a matador to maneuver a bull during the final passes before a kill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A red flag used by bullfighters.

Etymologies

Spanish, small mule, crutch, muleta, diminutive of mula, she-mule, from Latin mūla, feminine of mūlus, mule.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from Spanish muleta, diminutive of mulo. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The basic muleta passes are the ‘trincherazo’, generally done with one knee on the ground and at the beginning of the faena; the ‘pase de la firma’, simply moving the cloth in front of the bulls nose while the matador remains motionless; the ‘manoletina’, where the muleta is held behind the body; and the ‘natural’, where the estoque is removed from the muleta, making it a smaller target.

    Life And Death Ritual - La Corrida

  • The "hora de verdad" refers to the moment when the matador entices the bull with the "muleta" (the red cape draped over a stick) and, with the precision of the anaesthetist hitting the epidural space in an obese patient, plunges the sword into the bull's neck for the kill.

    Latest headlines from BMJ

  • It is a more difficult and dangerous maneuver than the 'derechazo,' where the left hand is free and the muleta red cloth and sword are held in the right.

    Photo-Op: Danse Macabre

  • His weapon was neither sword nor muleta, but a 1962 Dodge.

    Maggie Van Ostrand: Bullfights Out. Ferdinand In.

  • Not to mention Suarez, Villacorta, Ordonez, all of whom had lost their footwork, bent back the muleta with their cowardly elbows, and lost their nerves in the ways he so despised.

    Carlos The Impossible (Part 2)

  • Gathering up his muleta quickly, he leapt again—inasmuch as he could—but with only one leg to propel him he failed to gain the height he needed to plant the sword in the morillo.

    Carlos The Impossible (Part 2)

  • Lowering the muleta, Hernando set Carlos's head low and prepared to plunge the sword deep between the shoulder blades.

    Carlos The Impossible (Part 2)

  • The end comes, not with a flash of the muleta, not at the end of a pic.

    Carlos The Impossible (Part 2)

  • Suki lifts her chin and raises her muleta, offering it, flaring, to the beast.

    The Lady Matador’s Hotel

  • Suki approaches the bull again, her shadow jerking behind her, the red muleta rippling from the force of her stride.

    The Lady Matador’s Hotel

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