man·​tis | \ ˈman-təs How to pronounce mantis (audio) \
plural mantises also mantes\ ˈman-​ˌtēz How to pronounce mantis (audio) \

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 Right now, this dead leaf mantis is the size of an ant., "© Copyright Gannett 2021," 30 Apr. 2021 To inflate this smelly love balloon, the mantis pumps it full of a fluid called hemolymph, which is a bit like blood for invertebrates. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Mantis Attracts Males With a Y-Shaped Balloon-Like Pheromone Gland," 28 Apr. 2021 The Congo green mantis opens its mouth, shows its colorful forelegs and spreads its wings. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, "How a Praying Mantis Says ‘Boo!’," 3 Sep. 2020 Without hesitating, the hornet rushed the mantis and bit off its head. Steve Bender, Southern Living, "“Murder Hornet,” He Wrote," 27 May 2020 Watch this one-minute video, from a 2013 Times article, that documents how cheetahs hunt their prey: Then, rewatch the video of the preying mantis and answer the following questions: What is similar about how each animal captures its prey? Nicole Daniels, New York Times, "Lesson of the Day: ‘Praying Mantises: More Deadly Than We Knew’," 15 May 2020 Among the newfound creatures are unicorn mantises, which have mysterious, hornlike structures on their heads, as seen above on a member of the genus Zoolea. Magnus Wennman, National Geographic, "See our three favorite scientific breakthroughs this month," 17 June 2019 The findings could even inspire robots that navigate the world like the mantises—save for grabbing prey with spiky arms and decapitating them. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why These Praying Mantises Are Wearing Itty-Bitty 3D Glasses," 9 Aug. 2019 Haley Heynderickx turned small moments like catching a mantis into delicate, affecting indie-folk gems. Terence Cawley,, "Second day of Newport Folk Fest brings big surprises," 28 July 2019

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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Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mantis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for mantis


man·​tis | \ ˈman-təs How to pronounce mantis (audio) \
plural mantises also mantes\ ˈman-​ˌtēz \

Kids Definition of mantis

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

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