mantissa [man-tis-uh] ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. Mathematics. the decimal part of a common logarithm.Compare characteristic(def 3a).
  2. Obsolete. an addition of little or no importance, as to a literary work.

Origin of mantissa 1860–65; Latin, variant of mantisa addition, makeweight, said to be from Etruscan; logarithmic mantissa so called because it is additional to the characteristic or integral part (term introduced by H. Briggs) Examples from the Web for mantissa Historical Examples of mantissa

  • Linnæus, however, says that his plant came from India (Mantissa, p. 273).

    Origin of Cultivated Plants

    Alphonse De Candolle

  • The integral part of a logarithm is called the index or characteristic, and the fractional part the mantissa.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 16, Slice 8


  • Mantissa Plantarum, generum editionis sextæ et specierum editionis secundæ.

    Lives of Eminent Zoologists, from Aristotle to Linnus

    William MacGillivray

  • Linnæus has described this plant minutely in his Mantissa Plant, so that no doubt remains of its being his maritimus.

    The Botanical Magazine, Vol. V

    William Curtis

  • Linnæus originally confounded it with a similar plant, the Draba alpina, a mistake since rectified in his Mantissa Plant.

    The Botanical Magazine, Vol. V

    William Curtis

  • British Dictionary definitions for mantissa mantissa noun

    1. the fractional part of a common logarithm representing the digits of the associated number but not its magnitudethe mantissa of 2.4771 is .4771 Compare characteristic (def. 2a)

    Word Origin for mantissa C17: from Latin: something added, of Etruscan origin Word Origin and History for mantissa n.

    decimal part of a logarithm, 1865, from Latin mantisa “a worthless addition, makeweight,” perhaps a Gaulish word introduced into Latin via Etruscan (cf. Old Irish meit, Welsh maint “size”).

    mantissa in Science mantissa [măn-tĭs′ə]

    1. The part of a logarithm to the base ten that is to the right of the decimal point. For example, if 2.749 is a logarithm, .749 is the mantissa. Compare characteristic.

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