1

mantle

noun man·tle \ ˈman-tᵊl \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of mantle

1 a : a loose sleeveless garment worn over other clothes : cloak
b : a figurative cloak symbolizing preeminence or authority
  • accepted the mantle of leadership
2 a : something that covers, enfolds, or envelops (see envelop 1)
  • The ground was covered with a mantle of leaves.
b (1) : a fold or lobe or pair of lobes of the body wall of a mollusk or brachiopod that in shell-bearing forms lines the shell and bears shell-secreting glands
(2) : the soft external body wall that lines the test or shell of a tunicate or barnacle (see barnacle 2)
c : the outer wall and casing of a blast furnace above the hearth (see hearth 1c); broadly : an insulated support or casing in which something is heated
3 : the upper back of a bird
4 : a lacy hood or sheath of some refractory (see 1refractory 3) material that gives light by incandescence when placed over a flame
5 a : regolith
b : the part of the interior of a terrestrial (see terrestrial 3) planet and especially the earth that lies beneath the crust and above the central core
6 : mantel

Examples of mantle in a Sentence

  1. She accepted the mantle of leadership.

  2. a long black velvet mantle

Recent Examples of mantle from the Web

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

mantle vs. mantel

Keeping mantel and mantle straight is relatively simple.

Mantel in modern English largely does one job: it refers to the shelf above a fireplace. You can remember it by thinking of the "el" in both mantel and shelf.

Mantle on the other hand, does many jobs, including a number that are technical or scientific. Its most common uses are to refer to a literal cloak, mostly of the kind worn in days of yore ("she drew her mantle tighter"), and to a figurative cloak symbolizing authority or importance ("taking on the mantle of the museum's directorship"). It also refers to a general covering in literary uses like "wet earth covered in a mantle of leaves" or "a past shrouded in a mantle of secrecy." And it's also the term for the middle layer of the Earth between the crust and the inner core.

There is, however, a catch to these distinctions: mantle is sometimes used (especially in American English) to refer to the shelf above a fireplace as well—that is, as a synonym of mantel.

This isn't terribly surprising, given the histories of the words. They both derive from the Latin word mantellum, which refers both to a cloak and to a beam or stone supporting the masonry above a fireplace. The words came into use in English a couple centuries apart, but were for a time in the past nothing more than spelling variants.

While it's certainly simpler to use mantle in all cases, mantel is significantly more common as the choice for the shelf, which means it's the safer choice in those cases.

Origin and Etymology of mantle

Middle English mantel, from Anglo-French, from Latin mantellum


2

mantle

verb

Definition of mantle

mantled; mantling play \ˈmant-liŋ, ˈman-tᵊl-iŋ\
: to cover with or as if with a mantle : cloak
  • the encroaching jungle growth that mantled the building
  • —Sanka Knox
1 : to become covered with a coating
2 : to spread over a surface
3 : blush
  • her rich face mantling with emotion
  • —Benjamin Disraeli

Examples of mantle in a Sentence

  1. early-morning fog mantled the fields along the river

Origin and Etymology of mantle


Mantle

biographical name Man·tle \ ˈman-tᵊl \

Definition of Mantle

Mickey (Charles) 1931–1995 American baseball player


MANTLE Defined for English Language Learners

mantle

Definition of mantle for English Language Learners

  • : a loose piece of clothing without sleeves that was worn over other clothes especially in the past

  • : something that covers or surrounds something else

  • : the position of someone who has responsibility or authority


mantle

Definition of mantle for English Language Learners

  • : to cover or surround (something)


MANTLE Defined for Kids

mantle

noun man·tle \ ˈman-tᵊl \

Definition of mantle for Students

1 : a loose sleeveless outer garment
2 : something that covers or wraps
  • The town was covered with a mantle of snow.
3 : the part of the earth's interior beneath the crust and above the central core
4 : a fold of the body wall of a mollusk that produces the shell material

Medical Dictionary

mantle

noun man·tle \ ˈman-tᵊl \

medical Definition of mantle

1 : something that covers, enfolds, or envelops


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