Definition of manta in US English:



  • 1A devil ray that occurs in all tropical seas and may reach very great size. It is sometimes seen leaping high out of the water.

    Manta birostris, family Mobulidae

    • ‘Eagle rays and occasionally mantas also cruise the reef.’
    • ‘The attraction is the bigger animals - the mantas and the whalesharks - and, of course, the grey reef sharks.’
    • ‘August / September: Second plankton bloom of the year, with more reliable sightings of mantas and whale sharks, but visibility can be variable and potentially poor.’
    • ‘Watch out for large sting rays, eagle rays, moblia and mantas.’
    • ‘These nutrients feed plankton, which attracts mantas, whale sharks and huge schools of small plankton-feeding fish such as fusiliers and red-toothed triggers.’
    • ‘The star of Baja California on the Pacific coast is Cabo san Lucas and the islands and sea mounts off La Paz, where divers can encounter whale sharks, mantas and hammerheads.’
    • ‘Less commonly, mantas, giant bumphead parrotfish, hawksbill turtles and giant stingray make appearances, as do more than its fair share of eagle rays.’
    • ‘The first day we headed out to Manta Point, where mantas can be seen all year round.’
    • ‘Whale sharks and mantas might be seen at any time of the year, but especially between November and January.’
    • ‘The sight that greeted me the first time I snorkelled off the beach in Eriyadu was a patrolling eagle ray, and mantas, turtles and small blacktip sharks are almost commonplace.’
    • ‘At Rangali, often known as Madivaru, or Manta Point, giant mantas arrive in groups from the open ocean.’
    • ‘It's early-season, but you never know, a manta or whale shark could pass by.’
    • ‘The mantas here also illustrate the kinds of discoveries waiting to be made by biologists.’
    • ‘No wonder these mantas are often called devil-fish.’
    • ‘On calm days, dive trips go to the windward side of the island to search for large schools of pelagic fish: bronze whaler sharks, hammerheads, mantas and sometimes oceanic white tips.’
    • ‘For several years, a manta nicknamed Molly used to be the star attraction here.’
    • ‘The harvest of mantas in eastern Indonesia has increased exponentially in just a few years.’
    • ‘Big fish enjoy the current - mantas, tuna, sharks (oceanic white tips, threshers, tigers and silvertips) all pay regular visits.’
    • ‘As the hours pass the next day, it seems that after weeks of sharks, seals, mantas and whales, we are slipping back to the real world, where disappointment can be the order of the day.’
    • ‘World Heritage Site Aldabra has green turtles, tiger sharks, mantas and potato cod.’
  • 2A rough-textured cotton fabric made and used in Spanish America.

    1. 2.1 A shawl made of manta.


Late 17th century: from Latin American Spanish, literally ‘large blanket’.