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manitou

[man-i-too] /ˈmæn ɪˌtu/
noun, plural manitous (especially collectively) manitou.
1.
(among the Algonquian Indians) a supernatural being that controls nature; a spirit, deity, or object that possesses supernatural power.
Also, manito
[man-i-toh] /ˈmæn ɪˌtoʊ/ (Show IPA),
manitu
[man-i-too] /ˈmæn ɪˌtu/ (Show IPA)
.
Origin
Unami Delaware
1605-1615
1605-15; < Unami Delaware monə́t·u, reinforced by or reborrowed from Ojibwa manito· and other cognates (all < Proto-Algonquian *maneto·wa); spelling influenced by equivalent French word
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for manitou

manitou

/ˈmænɪˌtuː/
noun (pl) -tous, -tus, -tos, -tou, -tu, -to
1.
(among the Algonquian Indians) a deified spirit or force
Word Origin
C17: from Algonquian; related to Ojibwa manito spirit
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
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Word Origin and History for manitou
n.

also manito, "spirit, deity, supernatural being," 1690s, from a word found throughout the Algonquian languages (cf. Delaware manutoow, Ojibwa manidoo), first in English from Unami Delaware /manet:u/.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for manitou

among Algonquian-speaking peoples of North America, the spiritual power inherent in the world generally. Manitous are also believed to be present in natural phenomena (animals, plants, geographic features, weather); they are personified as spirit-beings that interact with humans and each other and are led by the Great Manitou (Kitchi-Manitou). The word was frequently used by 19th-century and early 20th-century anthropologists in their theories of animism, a religious system characteristic of many indigenous peoples. See also Coyote and Raven cycle.

Learn more about manitou with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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