mantis

noun

man·​tis ˈman-təs How to pronounce mantis (audio)
plural mantises also mantes ˈman-ˌtēz How to pronounce mantis (audio)
: 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 episode featuring the mighty mantis and spider above was shot in a Texas backyard and included a jet-setting monarch butterfly working on their migrating north. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 Cockerill and the team addressed that in this series by not giving the bugs a name and showcasing the very real struggles in their lives, from outrunning a hungry mantis, finding food, to avoiding being squished by our shoes. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 24 Jan. 2024 There was a silky black chicken hot pot, giant mantis prawns, and a particularly delightful 2 a.m. run-in with handmade siu mai. The Bon Appétit Staff & Contributors, Bon Appétit, 6 Dec. 2023 Scientists have discovered the mantis also has unique 3D eyesight that is now being studied for its potential use to improve vision in robots. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Oct. 2023 There are nearly 2,000 different mantis species worldwide, found mostly in the more tropical or temperate climates. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Oct. 2023 For the First Time, A Praying Mantis Has Been Caught Fishing But some mantis species take concealment very seriously. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 8 May 2023 Maryland is currently home to five species of praying mantis, but only one is native, which is the Carolina mantis. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 9 Nov. 2022 Other mantis species can also resemble twigs and even dead leaves. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 8 May 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mantis was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near mantis

Cite this Entry

“Mantis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mantis. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

mantis

noun
man·​tis ˈmant-əs How to pronounce mantis (audio)
plural mantises also mantes ˈman-ˌtēz How to pronounce mantis (audio)
: any of various large usually green insects related to the grasshoppers and cockroaches that feed upon other insects and hold their prey in the stout spiny first pair of legs

More from Merriam-Webster on mantis

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