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Borrowing from Spanish manita(little hand), feminine-form diminutive of mano(hand), because the small red flowers of the tree resemble five-fingered human hands.

one of the hand-like flowers of the manita tree


manita ‎(plural manitas)

  1. (rare) The tree Chiranthodendron pentadactylon, or the red, hand-like flower this tree produces.
    • 1828, Mark Beaufoy, Mexican illustrations, founded upon facts, page 230:
      [] The manita tree,* so named from the singular formation of its flower, a drawing of which is placed as the frontispiece of this book, is a species of plant almost unknown in the catalogues of botanists.
      * Manita means a little hand.
    • 1829 October 3, in the Mechanics' Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal, and Gazette, number 321, page 112:
      Tradition states, that though the Indians did not actually worship the manita tree, yet they regarded the flower with a sort of religious veneration.
    • 1838, John Murray, The economy of vegetation, or phœnomena of plants, page 159:
      The curious manita, or ‘hand tree,’ near the city of Mexico, is another of these curiosities.
    • circa 1846, Traveling Sketches, from a work by Waddy Thompson, republished in the Rural Repository (1846 July 18), volume 22, number 23, page 181:
      [] with high walls on every side but open at the top and certainly not exceeding 80 feet square, and this is the botanic garden of the palace of Mexico; a few shrubs and plants and the celebrated manita tree, are all that it contains.
    • 1852, Victoria Alexandrina M.L. Gregory, A young traveller's journal of a tour in North and South America during the year 1850
      Close by was a plant of the manita, a flower which the Aztecs used to worship ; it is in the form of a hand, with four fingers and a thumb : this they imagined to be the hand of one of their most powerful deities, and adored it ; its colour is a brilliant scarlet.
    • 1928, Ernest Gruening, Mexico and its heritage, page 74:
      Here one finds among remedies for every organ and ailment, manita, whose red flower, shaped like thumb and four fingers gives its name “the little hand.”
    • 2000, Stephen Harrigan, The Gates of the Alamo: A Novel:
      A sign nailed to a manita tree read “Jardín Botánica.” Edmund surveyed this pathetic place in disbelief. The botanic garden of the Palace of Mexico was cramped, airless, light-starved, and populated with meager, untended specimens — []





manita f ‎(plural manitas)

  1. diminutive of mano, little hand




First used in 1882, as Ottoman Turkish mantinota(mistress), from Italian mantenuta(kept woman). Compare with mantenuto(kept man).


manita ‎(definite accusative manitayı, plural manitalar)

  1. girl friend, chick
    • 1882, Ahmed Midhat Efendi, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      mantinota: "metres, sürekli görülen hayat kadını"
      mantinota: "mistress, regularly seen courtesan"
  2. lover (unisex)