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manta

[man-tuh; Spanish mahn-tah] /ˈmæn tə; Spanish ˈmɑn tɑ/
noun, plural mantas
[man-tuh z; Spanish mahn-tahs] /ˈmæn təz; Spanish ˈmɑn tɑs/ (Show IPA)
1.
(in Spain and Spanish America) a cloak or wrap.
2.
the type of blanket or cloth used on a horse or mule.
3.
Military. a movable shelter formerly used to protect besiegers, as when attacking a fortress.
4.
Ichthyology. Also called manta ray, devil ray, devilfish. any of several tropical rays of the small family Mobulidae, especially of the genus Manta, measuring from 2 to 24 feet (0.6 to 7.3 meters) across, including the pectoral fins.
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700; < Spanish < Provençal: blanket. See mantle
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for manta ray

manta

/ˈmæntə; Spanish ˈmanta/
noun
1.
Also called manta ray, devilfish, devil ray. any large ray (fish) of the family Mobulidae, having very wide winglike pectoral fins and feeding on plankton
2.
a rough cotton cloth made in Spain and Spanish America
3.
a piece of this used as a blanket or shawl
4.
another word for mantelet (sense 2)
Word Origin
Spanish: cloak, from Vulgar Latin; see mantle. The manta ray is so called because it is caught in a trap resembling a blanket
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for manta ray

manta

n.

very large ray (also called devilfish), 1760, from Spanish manta "blanket" (which is attested in English from 1748 in this sense, specifically in reference to a type of wrap or cloak worn by Spaniards), from Late Latin mantum "cloak," back-formation from Latin mantellum "cloak" (see mantle (n.)). The ray so called "for being broad and long like a quilt" [Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, "A Voyage to South America"].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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