man·​tis | \ ˈman-təs \
plural mantises also mantes\ ˈman-​ˌtēz \

Definition of mantis

: any of an order or suborder (Mantodea and especially family Mantidae) of large usually green insects that feed on other insects and clasp their prey in forelimbs held up as if in prayer

Illustration of mantis

Illustration of mantis

Examples of mantis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The mantises have made themselves quite at home, in fact. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Dozens of Praying Mantis Babies Crawled Out of a Woman's Christmas Tree," 9 Jan. 2019 This discovery isn’t necessarily surprising; modern arthropods, like mantises and arachnids, are also well-developed predators from an early age, the researchers note. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Prehistoric Sea Creature Had Fanged, Killer Babies," 11 June 2018 The drone arrives overhead with a roar, hovers for a moment, then lowers itself towards the green circle like a mantis, three sets of propellers churning the air into whorls of straw and dust. The Economist, "The world's first commercial drone-delivery service takes flight," 9 June 2018 Klementieff watched YouTube videos of preying mantises decapitating birds. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "The 5 most interesting things Marvel's Mantis said at PopCon," 9 June 2018 Outside the academy, the 12-foot-tall pink orchid mantis next to the double-deinonychuses is more than just a pretty decoration. Lauren Mccutcheon,, "Where to take your kids in Philadelphia this summer," 6 June 2018 The mantises more than most seem almost to have an eerie awareness of the giants with their cameras standing around them. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "This New Movie Will Give You a New Love for Insects. Really.," 18 Apr. 2018 Oelman concedes that this is probably just a biomechanical trick: alone among the insects he photographs, mantises have the ability to pivot their heads on flexible necks—to look back at the camera as the camera looks at them. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "This New Movie Will Give You a New Love for Insects. Really.," 18 Apr. 2018 The sensitive lens on the mantis cam can detect changes in underwater polarization, allowing researchers for the first time to create an underwater GPS system. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Lost at sea? This camera mimics way shrimp see and might help rescuers find you | Miami Herald," 4 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of mantis

1646, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mantis

New Latin, from Greek, literally, diviner, prophet; akin to Greek mainesthai to be mad — more at mania

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28 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for mantis

The first known use of mantis was in 1646

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More Definitions for mantis


man·​tis | \ ˈman-təs \
plural mantises also mantes\ ˈman-​ˌtēz \

Kids Definition of mantis

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More from Merriam-Webster on mantis

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mantis

Spanish Central: Translation of mantis

Nglish: Translation of mantis for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mantis

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