man·​ta | \ ˈman-tə How to pronounce manta (audio) \

Definition of manta

1 : a square piece of cloth or blanket used in southwestern U.S. and Latin America usually as a cloak or shawl
2 [ American Spanish, from Spanish; from its shape ] : manta ray

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of manta in a Sentence

a manta glided along the sea bottom

Recent Examples on the Web

Microplastics gathered by a manta trawl in the Sargasso Sea are placed on a map of the area. Shailene Woodley, Time, "Shailene Woodley: How I'm Changing My Life to Help Save the Seas," 4 Sep. 2019 That muddied patch of manta cloth, the product of sudden flooding, might put you in the mind of the hazy color blocks of Mark Rothko. Globe Staff,, "Painter Vivian Suter emerges from decades of self-exile with bright, blissful works at the ICA," 29 Aug. 2019 Reef mantas have patterns of unique belly spots that stay the same throughout their lives. Jake Buehler, National Geographic, "Manta rays form close friendships, shattering misconceptions," 27 Aug. 2019 Off the side of the Esperanza, the manta trawl lazily gobbles up water samples from the ocean's surface that are filtered through its long mesh tail. Arwa Damon, CNN, "Microplastics discovered in 'extreme' concentrations in the North Atlantic," 19 Aug. 2019 While population numbers for giant manta rays are hard to come by, a related species, the reef manta, which until a decade ago was seen as the same species, has decreased by 90 percent in the last decade. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Teeming Manta Ray Nursery Discovered in the Gulf of Mexico," 19 June 2018 Stewart, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who has studied mantas around the world, had only seen one or two juveniles in his studies. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Teeming Manta Ray Nursery Discovered in the Gulf of Mexico," 19 June 2018 Now, researchers at the National University of Singapore have created a robot that mimics the manta. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "This robotic manta ray may speed underwater search and rescue," 8 Dec. 2017 Paradoxically, that vulnerability may also bring benefits, by intensifying pressure on regional and local governments to conserve mantas on their own. National Geographic, "Manta Rays Prefer Staycations Over Long Migrations," 20 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'manta.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of manta

1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for manta

Spanish, alteration of manto cloak, from Late Latin mantus, probably back-formation from Latin mantellum mantle

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about manta

Statistics for manta

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for manta

The first known use of manta was in 1697

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on manta

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with manta

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for manta

Spanish Central: Translation of manta

Britannica English: Translation of manta for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about manta

Comments on manta

What made you want to look up manta? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!