[ man-uh-fest ]
See synonyms for: manifestmanifestedmanifestingmanifests on

  1. readily perceived by the eye or the understanding; evident; obvious; apparent; plain: a manifest error.

  2. Psychoanalysis. of or relating to conscious feelings, ideas, and impulses that contain repressed psychic material: the manifest content of a dream as opposed to the latent content that it conceals.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly: He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh.

  2. to prove; put beyond doubt or question: The evidence manifests the guilt of the defendant.

  1. to record in a ship's manifest.

  1. a list of the cargo carried by a ship, made for the use of various agents and officials at the ports of destination.

  2. a list or invoice of goods transported by truck or train.

  1. a list of the cargo or passengers carried on an airplane.

Origin of manifest

First recorded in 1350–1400; (adjective) Middle English manifest(e), from Latin manifestus, manufestus “detected in the act, evident, visible”; (verb) Middle English manifesten, from Middle French manifester, from Latin manifestāre, derivative of manifestus. See manus

synonym study For manifest

3. See display.

word story For manifest

English manifest exists as three parts of speech: in historical order, adjective (late 14th century), verb (early 15th), and noun (mid-16th). Manifest ultimately comes from Latin manifestus (also manufestus ) and its derivatives, meaning “caught red-handed, caught in the act, evident, plain to see, readily understood.” The first element, mani- (or manu- ), derives from manus “hand”; the element - festus, however, is very rare and occurs in only one other Latin adjective, infestus “hostile, antagonistic, troubled.”
The Latin sense of manifestus “evident, plain to see” is the earliest sense in English. The Latin verb manifestāre “to make visible, indicate, make plain, disclose,” a derivative of manifestus, is, along with the Middle French verb manifester, the source of the English verb.
The noun sense of manifest, “a list of a ship’s cargo or goods,” appeared in the late 17th century and comes from Italian manifesto “a public declaration, especially a written declaration,” which dates from the early 17th century. That Italian word is, of course, the source of English manifesto, “a public declaration of intentions, opinions, etc.,” which happens to be one of the less common meanings of English manifest.

Other words for manifest

Opposites for manifest

Other words from manifest

  • man·i·fest·a·ble, adjective
  • man·i·fest·er, noun
  • man·i·fest·ly, adverb
  • man·i·fest·ness, noun
  • non·man·i·fest, adjective
  • non·man·i·fest·ness, noun
  • pre·man·i·fest, verb
  • re·man·i·fest, verb (used with object)
  • self-man·i·fest, adjective
  • su·per·man·i·fest, verb (used with object)
  • un·man·i·fest, adjective

Words Nearby manifest Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use manifest in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for manifest


/ (ˈmænɪˌfɛst) /

  1. easily noticed or perceived; obvious; plain

  2. psychoanal of or relating to the ostensible elements of a dream: manifest content Compare latent (def. 5)

  1. (tr) to show plainly; reveal or display: to manifest great emotion

  2. (tr) to prove beyond doubt

  1. (intr) (of a disembodied spirit) to appear in visible form

  2. (tr) to list in a ship's manifest

  1. a customs document containing particulars of a ship, its cargo, and its destination

    • a list of cargo, passengers, etc, on an aeroplane

    • a list of railway trucks or their cargo

    • mainly US and Canadian a fast freight train carrying perishables

Origin of manifest

C14: from Latin manifestus plain, literally: struck with the hand, from manū with the hand + -festus struck

Derived forms of manifest

  • manifestable, adjective
  • manifestly, adverb
  • manifestness, noun

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