Definition of maniple in US English:



  • 1A subdivision of a Roman legion, containing either 120 or 60 men.

    • ‘A battle-ravaged legion could have only two maniples, a hastily reorganised one could have ten.’
    • ‘By 99 B.C., the army was reformed into cohorts, three maniples to a cohort.’
    • ‘A Roman tribune gathered twenty maniples from the rear lines of the Roman right wing and led them in an attack on the flank of the Macedonian right.’
    • ‘The Hastati were organized into centuries of 60 men, which were arranged into maniples of 120, of which there were 10 in a battle formation.’
    • ‘But it was here that Scipio's preparation in lining up his troops in separate maniples bore fruit.’
    • ‘The maniples were arranged in 3 waves of 10 maniples each in a checker-board fashion.’
  • 2(in church use) a vestment formerly worn by a priest celebrating the Eucharist, consisting of a strip hanging from the left arm.

    • ‘Worn since the 6th century by Priests and Deacons in Ravenna, the maniple was incorporated throughout Wesern Europe within 400 years.’
    • ‘During the liturgical changes after the Council, the maniple became optional.’
    • ‘They go from the chasuble, wide stole, and maniple of his early priesthood to a succession of increasingly simple garments until they arrive at an academic gown.’
    • ‘The chasuble, stole and maniple conform to the liturgical colour of the day, which varies according to the feast.’
    • ‘The baptism is being conducted by an adult, a robed figure with a halo and a maniple, presumably John the Baptist.’


Late Middle English (in maniple (sense 2)): from Old French maniple, from Latin manipulus ‘handful, troop’, from manus ‘hand’ + the base of plere ‘fill’.