Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

mensa

[men-suh]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural men·sas, men·sae [men-see] /ˈmɛn si/ for 1, genitive men·sae for 2.
  1. Also called altar slab, altar stone. the flat stone forming the top of the altar in a Roman Catholic church.
  2. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Table, a southern constellation near Octans.
Show More

Origin of mensa

First recorded in 1685–95, mensa is from the Latin word mēnsa table
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for mensae

Mensa1

noun Latin genitive Mensae (ˈmɛnsiː)
  1. a faint constellation in the S hemisphere lying between Hydrus and Volans and containing part of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Show More

Word Origin

Latin, literally: the table

Mensa2

noun
  1. an international society, membership of which is restricted to people whose intelligence test scores exceed those expected of 98 per cent of the population
Show More
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 mensae

mensa

n.

"altar top," 1848, Latin, literally "table," also "meal, supper," and "altar, sacrificial table," hence used in Church Latin for "upper slab of a church altar" (see mesa). With a capital M-, the name of an organization for people of IQs of 148 or more founded in England in 1946, the name chosen, according to the organization, to suggest a "round table" type group. The constellation was originally Mons Mensae "Table Mountain."

La Caille, who did so much for our knowledge of the southern heavens, formed the figure from stars under the Greater Cloud, between the poles of the equator and the ecliptic, just north of the polar Octans; the title being suggested by the fact that the Table Mountain, back of Cape Town, "which had witnessed his nightly vigils and daily toils," also was frequently capped by a cloud. [Richard Hinckley Allen, "Star Names and Their Meanings," London: 1899]
Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper