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mantis

[man-tis]
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noun, plural man·tis·es, man·tes [man-teez] /ˈmæn tiz/.
  1. any of several predaceous insects of the order Mantidae, having a long prothorax and typically holding the forelegs in an upraised position as if in prayer.
Also mantid.

Origin of mantis

1650–60; < New Latin < Greek mántis prophet, kind of insect; akin to mania
Also called praying mantis.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for mantis

mantis

noun plural -tises or -tes (-tiːz)
  1. any carnivorous typically green insect of the family Mantidae, of warm and tropical regions, having a long body and large eyes and resting with the first pair of legs raised as if in prayer: order DictyopteraAlso called: praying mantis See also cockroach

Word Origin

C17: New Latin, from Greek: prophet, alluding to its praying posture
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mantis

n.

1650s, "type of insect that holds its forelegs in a praying position" (especially the praying mantis, Mantis religiosa), Modern Latin, from Greek mantis, literally "one who divines, a seer, prophet," from mainesthai "be inspired," related to menos "passion, spirit" (see mania). The insect so called for its way of holding the forelimbs as if in prayer. Also used in Greek for some sort of grasshopper (Theocritus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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