praying mantis

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A praying mantis.


Mantis from Greek μάντις (mántis). Named "praying mantis" for their stance, with the forelegs held together in a way that resembles a person praying. Similar designations exist in many European as well as non-European languages. Compare for example French mante religieuse (literally religious mantis), German Gottesanbeterin (literally God-worshipper), Persian آخوندک(âxundak, literally little cleric).


praying mantis (plural praying mantises or praying mantes)

  1. Any of various predatory, cannibalistic insects of the order Mantodea that have a prayer-like stance.
  2. (regional, in Europe) A mantid of the species Mantis religiosa.
  3. A woman who preys on men (from the idea that female praying mantises eat males after sex).