(also praying mantis)
noun (plural same or mantises)
A slender predatory insect related to the cockroach. It waits motionless for prey with its large spiky forelegs folded like hands in prayer.
- Suborder Mantodea, order Dictyoptera: Mantidae and other families, and many species, including Mantis religiosa, introduced to America from southern Europe and now found commonly in the northeastern US
More example sentences
- 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.
mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Greek, literally 'prophet'.