[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mantissa

British Dictionary definitions for mantissa


/ (mænˈtɪsə) /


the fractional part of a common logarithm representing the digits of the associated number but not its magnitudethe mantissa of 2.4771 is .4771 Compare characteristic (def. 2a)

Word Origin for mantissa

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

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

Science definitions for mantissa


[ măn-tĭsə ]

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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.