Mathematics. the decimal part of a common logarithm. Compare characteristic ( def 3a ).
Obsolete. an addition of little or no importance, as to a literary work.

1860–65; < Latin, variant of mantisa addition, makeweight, said to be from Etruscan; logarithmic mantissa so called because it is additional to the characteristic or integral part (term introduced by H. Briggs) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mantissa (mænˈtɪsə)
Compare characteristic the fractional part of a common logarithm representing the digits of the associated number but not its magnitude: the mantissa of 2.4771 is .4771
[C17: from Latin: something added, of Etruscan origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

decimal part of a logarithm, 1641, from L. mantisa "a worthless addition, makeweight," probably from a Gaulish word introduced into L. via Etruscan (cf. O.Ir. meit, Welsh maint "size").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
mantissa   (mān-tĭs'ə)  Pronunciation Key 
The part of a logarithm to the base ten that is to the right of the decimal point. For example, if 2.749 is a logarithm, .749 is the mantissa. Compare characteristic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

mantissa definition

1. The part of a floating point number which, when multiplied by its radix raised to the power of its exponent, gives its value. The mantissa may include the number's sign or this may be considered to be a separate part.
2. The fractional part of a logarithm.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
The mantissa is drawn next to the major tick and the exponent string is appended to the axis label.
Properties of float types include the size and location of the exponent and mantissa, and the location of the sign bit.
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