1. A rough-textured cotton fabric or blanket made and used in Spanish America and the southwest United States.
2. A very large ray (Manta birostris) inhabiting tropical and subtropical seas, having a whiplike tail and two hornlike fins that project forward from the head, and feeding on plankton. Also called devil ray, manta ray.
[Spanish, blanket, manta (from its blanketlike shape), alteration of manto, cloak, perhaps from Latin mantellum, mantēlum.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.