Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various predatory, chiefly tropical insects of the order or suborder Mantodea, having powerful grasping forelimbs and the ability to turn the head from side to side.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The typical genus of Mantidæ, formerly the same as the family, now much restricted. They are natives chiefly of tropical regions, but some species are common in temperate latitudes.
  • noun [lowercase; pl. mantes (-tēz).] Any species of the family Mantidæ; a rear-horse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of voracious orthopterous insects of the genus Mantis, and allied genera. They are predacious long-bodied large-eyed insects of warm regions, are remarkable for their slender grotesque forms, and for holding their stout anterior legs in a manner suggesting hands folded in prayer. The common American species is Mantis Carolina.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The Squilla, a tropical marine burrowing crustacean with large grasping appendages. Also called mantis crab and mantis prawn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of various large insects of the order Mantodea that catch insects or other small animals with their powerful forelegs.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun predacious long-bodied large-eyed insect of warm regions; rests with forelimbs raised as in prayer

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek, seer, praying mantis (from the insect's habit of holding its front legs in a pose resembling that of a seer in prayer, and perhaps also from the fact that its presence or emergence was thought to have divinatory value); see men- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

New Latin, from Ancient Greek μάντις (mantis, "soothsayer")

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