One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a pangolin, a scaly anteater. Now (usually) (in form Manis): the genus of mammals (family Manidae, order Pholidota) comprising the Asian pangolins.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in The Gentleman's Magazine. From scientific Latin Manis, genus name (Linnaeus Systema Naturae (ed. 10, 1758) I. 36, after his use in Systema Naturae (ed. 6, 1748) 8), probably (as an inferred singular form) from classical Latin mānēs, with the sense ‘ghost’, referring to its solitary nocturnal habits.
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