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[man-tis-uh] /mænˈtɪs ə/
Mathematics. the decimal part of a common logarithm.
Compare characteristic (def 3a).
Obsolete. an addition of little or no importance, as to a literary work.
Origin of mantissa
1860-65; < Latin, variant of mantisa addition, makeweight, said to be from Etruscan; logarithmic mantissa so called because it is additional to the characteristic or integral part (term introduced by H. Briggs) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for mantissa


the fractional part of a common logarithm representing the digits of the associated number but not its magnitude: the mantissa of 2.4771 is .4771 Compare characteristic (sense 2a)
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: something added, of Etruscan origin
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
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Word Origin and History for mantissa

decimal part of a logarithm, 1865, from Latin mantisa "a worthless addition, makeweight," perhaps a Gaulish word introduced into Latin via Etruscan (cf. Old Irish meit, Welsh maint "size").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mantissa in Science
The part of a logarithm to the base ten that is to the right of the decimal point. For example, if 2.749 is a logarithm, .749 is the mantissa. Compare characteristic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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