[ men-suh ]
/ ˈmɛn sə /

noun, plural men·sas, men·sae [men-see] /ˈmɛn si/ for 1, genitive men·sae for 2.

Also called altar slab, altar stone. the flat stone forming the top of the altar in a Roman Catholic church.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Table, a southern constellation near Octans.

Nearby words

  1. menostaxis,
  2. menotropins,
  3. menotti,
  4. mens rea,
  5. mens sana in corpore sano,
  6. mensal,
  7. mensch,
  8. mense,
  9. menservants,
  10. menses

Origin of mensa

First recorded in 1685–95, mensa is from the Latin word mēnsa table


[ men-suh ]
/ ˈmɛn sə /


an international fellowship organization for people with IQ's in the top 2 percent of the general population.

Origin of Mensa

From the Latin word mēnsa table, symbolizing the original conception of the society, “a round table where no one has precedence”

Related formsMen·san, noun

a mensa et thoro

[ ey men-suh et thawr-oh, thohr-oh ]
/ eɪ ˈmɛn sə ɛt ˈθɔr oʊ, ˈθoʊr oʊ /

adjective Law.

pertaining to or noting a divorce that forbids spouses to live together but does not dissolve the marriage bond.

Origin of a mensa et thoro

1590–1600; < Latin: literally, from board and bed. See mensal2, torus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mensa

British Dictionary definitions for mensa


/ (ˈmɛnsə) /

noun Latin genitive Mensae (ˈmɛnsiː)

a faint constellation in the S hemisphere lying between Hydrus and Volans and containing part of the Large Magellanic Cloud

Word Origin for Mensa

Latin, literally: the table


/ (ˈmɛnsə) /


an international society, membership of which is restricted to people whose intelligence test scores exceed those expected of 98 per cent of the population

a mensa et thoro

/ (eɪ ˈmɛnsə ɛt ˈθɔːrəʊ) /


law denoting or relating to a form of divorce in which the parties remain married but do not cohabit: abolished in England in 1857

Word Origin for a mensa et thoro

Latin: from table and bed

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 mensa



"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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper