man·​ti·​core ˈman-ti-ˌkȯr How to pronounce manticore (audio)
: a legendary animal with the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion

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A mythical creature of ancient fables, the manticore keeps company with the better-known unicorn, dragon, and griffin. Descriptions of the manticore's features sometimes differ (some accounts mention porcupine quills or poisonous spikes, for example; others depict the tail as having a serpent's head), but the animal is by all accounts a dreadful beast. The word manticore came to English through the Greek mantichōras and Latin mantichora, and is probably ultimately of Iranian origin. Etymologists think it is related to an Old Persian word for "man-eater."

Examples of manticore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most recently, the pair performed the manticore dance seen in the franchise's 2022 installment, The Secrets of Dumbledore. Emlyn Travis,, 7 Jan. 2023 When the strength card appeared, with its image of a manticore — a mythical man/lion/scorpion beast — the songwriters had an epiphany. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 27 Feb. 2022 Berry is Shlub, Tyrannis’ father, a mantitaur (half centaur [horse + human], half manticore [lion + human + scorpion]). Joe Otterson, Variety, 8 Sep. 2021 In the repertoire of Renaissance cartographers, fierce mythical beasts—from sea serpents to manticores—represented dangers of unknown worlds. Michael Engelhard, Smithsonian, 31 May 2017 Each terrace holds nasty monsters, alternating with water or dry-land creatures: giant crayfish, giant scorpions, sea lions, and three manticores. Ken Denmead, WIRED, 29 Dec. 2010

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'manticore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin mantichora, from Greek mantichōras

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of manticore was in the 14th century


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Cite this Entry

“Manticore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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