See mantis in American Heritage Dictionary 4
noun pl. man·tis·es or man·tes (-tēz)
Origin: Greek, seer; see men-1 in Indo-European roots. Word History: Although the female mantis has the habit of eating the male after mating, its name suggests a more benign activity. Mantis is from the Greek word mantis, meaning “prophet, seer.” The Greeks, who made the connection between the upraised front legs of a mantis waiting for its prey and the hands of a prophet in prayer, used the name mantis to mean “the praying mantis.” This word and sense were picked up in Modern Latin and from there came into English, being first recorded in 1658. Once we know the origin of the term mantis, we realize that the species names praying mantis and Mantis religiosa are a bit redundant.
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