[man-tuh; Spanish mahn-tah]
noun, plural mantas [man-tuhz; Spanish mahn-tahs] .
(in Spain and Spanish America) a cloak or wrap.
the type of blanket or cloth used on a horse or mule.
Military. a movable shelter formerly used to protect besiegers, as when attacking a fortress.
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.

1690–1700; < Spanish < Provençal: blanket. See mantle Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
manta (ˈmæntə, Spanish ˈmanta)
1.  manta ray, devilfish, Also called: 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
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

very large ray, also called devilfish, 1760, from Sp. manta "blanket" (1748 in this sense, specifically in ref. to a type of wrap or cloak worn by Spaniards), from L. mantellum "cloak" (see mantle). 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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