Meaning of mantis in English:


(also praying mantis)

Pronunciation /ˈmantɪs/

Translate mantis into Spanish

nounmantis, mantises

  • A slender predatory insect with a triangular head, which waits motionless for prey with its large forelegs folded like hands in prayer.

    Suborder Mantodea, order Dictyoptera: Mantidae and other families, and many species, including Mantis religiosa of southern Europe

    ‘A newcomer could easily get lost in its tunnels, and the unwary is easy prey to predatory wasps or mantises.’
    • ‘The creatures look part stick insect, part mantis, with a touch of grasshopper.’
    • ‘Some insects also hunt down spiders, including the mantis and a wasp that specializes in catching and paralyzing spiders.’
    • ‘The mantis will attack butterflies, bees, beetles, frogs, spiders, mice, lizards, and small birds.’
    • ‘In autumn children listen to singing insects, observe and play with red dragonflies, collect inago locusts, stage spider fights, watch mantises, and collect wasps' nests.’
    • ‘Praying mantises, unlike other insects, do not eat plant life; they are the outstanding cannibals of the insect world and devour even members of their own family.’
    • ‘The team has also found that 300 milliseconds before the bat hits the mantis, the insect's auditory nerve goes completely dead.’
    • ‘In The Temple of Doom, Indy walks through a chamber filled with mantises, beetles, worms, millipedes, moths, slugs, snails, and puppy dog tails.’
    • ‘Instead of chemicals, their defense is based on ‘herds’ of preying mantises, scores of ladybugs, and armies of earthworms.’
    • ‘Spiders and butterflies and mantises, being pretty solitary for the most part, are easier to identify with.’
    • ‘The common European mantis is classified as Mantis religiosa, while the Carolina mantis is classified as Stagmonantis carolina.’
    • ‘Middle Eastern people and Thais eat nearly all types of insect but foreigners tend to love the green mantis most.’
    • ‘It looks like a preying mantis, has a huge hook to snare its prey and is coming to a rocky shoreline near you.’
    • ‘When the cicada attacked, the mantis angled to the side and then pinned the cicada with its powerful forearms.’
    • ‘Like jackals around a tiger kill, small flies hovered around the feasting mantis, even daring to settle on its grotesque pea-like eyes.’
    • ‘There is also a new predator - a South African preying mantis that grows far larger than the New Zealand native one.’
    • ‘Belle is like a dark mantis sneaking in for the kill.’
    • ‘Perhaps they're a pair, I thought, and went indoors and fetched my mantis and placed him on the jasmine bush, opposite his fellow insect.’
    • ‘When Jerry comes in to interview the bed-bound man he looks like a preying mantis by comparison, as though the two men aren't even the same species.’
    • ‘One mantis may be kept on its own as a pet and fed throughout the year.’


Mid 17th century modern Latin, from Greek, literally ‘prophet’.