Definition of manticore
: a legendary animal with the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a dragon or scorpion
manticore was our Word of the Day on 10/27/2008. Hear the podcast!
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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 Greek and Latin, and is probably ultimately of Iranian origin. Etymologists think it is related to an Old Persian word for "man-eater."
Origin and Etymology of manticore
Middle English, from Latin mantichora, from Greek mantichōras
First Known Use: 14th century
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