Main definitions of mantle in English

: mantle1mantle2



  • 1A loose sleeveless cloak or shawl, worn especially by women.

    ‘she was wrapped tightly in her mantle’
    • ‘In the painting Mark stands in a pulpit, preaching to a group of oriental women swathed in white mantles.’
    • ‘The stress in the whole collection falls on the classical mantles, and suits with waist-length coats have been combined with A-like silhouettes.’
    • ‘She came to the conclusion that Bridget and Sibyl Nevile were just children and pulled her mantle over her wet shoulders in a pout.’
    • ‘His long-nailed, perfectly manicured white hands clutched at her, dragging the mantle off her face.’
    • ‘Mary stands within a rayed mandorla, dressed in a mantle fastened by cords, over a gown.’
    • ‘Her back was turned to me, so I could only see her short crop of black hair and the red mantle she wore.’
    • ‘Her eyes were everywhere: on my gown, my mantle, our horses, and most of all, I thought, resting on the face of Gyric, with its linen wrap over the eyes.’
    • ‘A mantle billowed up from the cloak and settled about her shoulders, holding the medallion in place.’
    • ‘She clapped her little white hands for her attending eunuch, and let the flabby monster wrap her in her mantle.’
    • ‘Tamora drew her cloak about her, appreciating the warm mantle with its fur lining, whilst the air chapped her lips and pinched her nose and cheeks.’
    • ‘The lower part of her mantle cascades in regular folds, but the hem represents a noticeable display of wind blown drapery.’
    • ‘It had a more classic style than Brigg's own coat, and it even sported a mantle over the shoulders.’
    • ‘She was dressed richly, both her gown and mantle a rich scarlet velvet, trimmed in beautiful white fox fur.’
    cloak, cape, shawl, wrap, stole
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A covering of a specified sort.
      ‘the houses were covered with a thick mantle of snow’
      • ‘And in the distance suddenly emerging from its mantle of clouds, the impressive sight of a snow-capped Mount Rainier.’
      • ‘Thirty miles away, the lofty peaks appeared sugar coated under their mantle of winter snow.’
      • ‘Much of the island is a mantle of ice more than half a mile thick.’
      • ‘There is enough filtered moonlight to reveal the tip of a glacier hanging like a tongue out of the mantle of clouds.’
      • ‘Geologists have been intrigued that such massive failures could take place in a rocky terrain with a thin mantle of soil in otherwise stable landforms.’
      • ‘It had snowed for the last few days, and the woods were buried in a perfect untouched mantle of thick fresh snow.’
      • ‘Wrapped in fleecelike mantles of bacteria, the worms live in papery tubes, which they burrow into the sides of deep-sea geysers.’
      • ‘The highest mountains were cloaked in mantles of snow and ice with glaciers perched in the hanging valleys as though suspended by some invisible thread from the summits.’
      • ‘She could see nothing for miles but more stony peaks glittering in their mantles of silver and white.’
      covering, layer, blanket, sheet, veil, curtain, canopy, cover, cloak, pall, shroud, screen, mask, cloud, overlay, envelope
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Ornithology A bird's back, scapulars, and wing coverts, especially when of a distinctive colour.
      ‘many gulls are all white except for dark grey mantle and wings’
      • ‘Juveniles appear similar to adults in non-breeding plumage, but the gray mantle is mottled.’
      • ‘During a night watch, while the male godwits were incubating, it was noted that the females stood sleeping on the poles with their bills tucked backwards in their mantles.’
      • ‘Yellow wings, closed at his back in a mantle that stretched from shoulder to ankle, opened.’
      • ‘In breeding plumage, it has a light gray mantle with silvery-white primaries.’
    3. 1.3Zoology (in molluscs, cirripedes, and brachiopods) a fold of skin enclosing the viscera and secreting the shell.
      • ‘A bundle of giant nerve fibres tied to the mantle give them very rapid reflexes.’
      • ‘In that species, algal endosymbionts occur in both the mantle and gills.’
      • ‘Squids on earth still have a vestige of a shell inside their mantles.’
      • ‘A bivalve is characterized by possessing two shells secreted by a mantle that extends in a sheet on either side of the body.’
      • ‘They are characterized by a single, pseudobivalved shell which enclosed the mantle and muscular foot.’
  • 2An important role or responsibility that passes from one person to another.

    ‘the second son has now assumed his father's mantle’
    • ‘The historic achievement that they are chasing is the mantle of being the first ever Waterford club to be crowned as Munster Club football champions.’
    • ‘Of course, this was the late 1960s and Laura had yet to marry a man named George and take up the mantle of First Lady of the United States of America.’
    • ‘We have tried and tried again at picking up the mantles of authority only to find them alternately too big and too small.’
    • ‘He won't say it, but he's probably ready to pass the mantle at some point.’
    • ‘And of course you're handing on the mantle to your son, are you not, so you're keeping it in the family.’
    • ‘It was intended that the mantle should fall on to a nephew who was brought into the firm just before the Second World War but he died in his early forties in 1959.’
    • ‘It is not easy to calibrate his success but it stirs a seamless passion in those now ready to take on the mantle.’
    • ‘On reflection it seems that the sands of time are beginning to catch up on the ageing stars, while some of the young tigers seem to be finding it hard to assume the mantle of leaders.’
    • ‘So, I have taken on the mantle of cook, which is fine - I like cooking.’
    • ‘Within a superb trio of opening tracks, he takes on the mantle of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and 1999-era Prince.’
    • ‘That will be a slower process: whoever picks up the mantle of Chinese leadership, he will not be a democrat, nor one reconciled to US domination.’
    • ‘In subtle and not-so-subtle ways the mantle was passed from one generation to another.’
    • ‘That way, goes one theory, the PM can pass his mantle on to the stronger man.’
    • ‘But by running for and taking the mantle of chief justice, Moore accepted the code of ethics that came with the job.’
    • ‘Now that Bob Hope is no longer available to make surprise walk-ons, I think the mantle should be passed on to Stan.’
    • ‘That's the way it had been for over four hundred years, the mantle passing from father to son, the reason lost somewhere in time.’
    • ‘There she very quickly adopted the mantle of the Queen Mum, the nation's favourite grandmother - and to hang with the cost.’
    • ‘From what he told me, his grandfather passed the mantle onto him years ago.’
    • ‘It remains to be seen after May's parish council elections who will be willing take on the mantle of chairman and continue with the next stage of the transformation.’
    • ‘He just happens to be a man among men - the mantle of leadership thrust upon his humble shoulders and dragged to new heights.’
    role, burden, onus, duty, responsibility, function, position, capacity, task, job
    View synonyms
  • 3A fragile mesh cover fixed round a gas jet, kerosene wick, etc., to give an incandescent light when heated.

    • ‘Since gas mantles made with thorium are radioactive, their use has been phased out.’
    • ‘The incandescent gas mantle, developed by the German von Welsbach in 1885, greatly increased illuminating power and for a time helped fight off competition from electric lighting.’
    • ‘There was no electric in the house only gas, so the house had a gas mantle in each room and a small fire place.’
    • ‘Even so, it took another 20 years or so before electric lights had largely replaced gas mantles in American homes.’
    • ‘The rare earths once had a valuable function in gas mantles and lighter flints.’
  • 4Geology
    The region of the earth's interior between the crust and the core, believed to consist of hot, dense silicate rocks (mainly peridotite)

    ‘magmas erupted at mid-ocean ridges are derived from the upper mantle’
    as modifier ‘mantle rock’
    mass noun ‘the presence of hot mantle leads to melting at the base of the lithosphere’
    • ‘Because it is less dense than the surrounding mantle, the magma rises toward the surface.’
    • ‘Earthquake waves travel slowly through the hotter regions of the mantle and speed up in colder, denser areas.’
    • ‘Hot new ocean crust forms at midocean ridges, cools, and sinks back into the mantle, shedding heat and driving the plates.’
    • ‘The build-up of heat under the mantle initiates, at some point, the formation of convection.’
    • ‘No one is ever likely to get a direct sample of material from the fiery mantle itself.’
    1. 4.1 The part of another planetary body corresponding to the earth's mantle.
      ‘the lunar mantle’


  • 1literary with object Cloak or envelop.

    ‘heavy mists mantled the forested slopes’
    • ‘Sunset had mantled the horizon with primrose, so that the evening sky blended with the garden, but there was still enough light to show him he wasn't the only one to flee the massed family.’
    • ‘However, sediment drifts mantle the western margins, and slope fans locally encroach onto the rise of the eastern margin.’
    • ‘The other airily swings his torches of love, their flames mantling a cloud on which Jupiter's eagle fierily reposes.’
    • ‘But there is also a beauty of expression that mantles the whole work.’
    • ‘Sunlight sparkled on the snow mantling the trees, while deep drifts, their hollows moulded with blue shadow, were draped between the trees like sculpture.’
    cover, envelop, veil, cloak, curtain, shroud, swathe, wrap, blanket, screen, cloud, conceal, hide, disguise, mask, obscure, surround, overlay, clothe
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic (of blood) suffuse (the face)
      ‘a warm pink mounted to the girl's cheeks and mantled her brow’
      • ‘A moment of historical awareness would mantle his cheeks with a blush of shame.’
    2. 1.2archaic no object (of the face) glow with a blush.
      ‘her rich face mantling with emotion’
    3. 1.3archaic no object (of a liquid) become covered with a head or froth.
      ‘the poison mantled in the bowl’
  • 2no object (of a bird of prey on the ground or on a perch) spread the wings and tail so as to cover captured prey.

    ‘the female Goshawk is feeding while mantling with spread wings over her prey’
    • ‘Low growls of warning were echoing from the throats of the wolves while the raptors mantled their wings and hissed in agitation.’
    • ‘She arched her back, mantling her wings threateningly as she stalked to stand in front of her rescuer.’
    • ‘This rabbit has no time to squeal, for Freya has it, and is mantling it, sheltering it beneath widespread wings, even her black tail feathers, with their white base and band, spread apart to hide it from our gaze.’
    • ‘He lowered his arm slowly, cautiously, extending it well away from him, and the bird mantled as it shifted its weight to balance on his wrist.’


Old English mentel, from Latin mantellum ‘cloak’; reinforced in Middle English by Old French mantel.




Main definitions of mantle in English

: mantle1mantle2