early 13c., mantelen, "to wrap or cover in a mantle," from mantle (n.) or from Old French manteler, from the noun in French. The figurative sense of "to obscure or protect by covering up" is from mid-15c. Intransitive sense of "become covered with a coating" (of liquids) is from 1620s; that of "become suffused" (as with blushes or color) is by 1707. Related: Mantled; mantling.
Old English mentel "a loose, sleeveless garment worn as an outer covering, falling in straight lines from the shoulders," from Latin mantellum "cloak" (source of Italian mantello, Old High German mantal, German Mantel, Old Norse mötull), perhaps from a Celtic source, or, if the Latin word is the same word as mantelum, mantelium "a cloth, hand-towel, napkin," perhaps it is from manus "hand."
Reinforced and altered 12c. by cognate Old French mantel "cloak, mantle; bedspread, cover" (Modern French manteau), also from the Latin source. Figurative sense "that which enshrouds, something that conceals, a covering" is from c. 1300. Allusive use for "symbol of literary authority or artistic pre-eminence" (by 1789) is from Elijah's mantle (II Kings ii.13). As a layer of the earth between the crust and core (though not originally distinguished from the core) it is attested from 1940. To take (originally have) the mantel (and the ring) was a symbolic act done before a bishop by a widow, indicating a vow of chastity (c. 1400).
"cloak, mantle," 1670s, from French manteau "a cloak," from Old French mantel, from Latin mantellum "cloak" (see mantle (n.)).
woman's head-covering, often of lace, which falls down upon the shoulders and may be used as a veil, 1717, from Spanish mantilla, diminutive of manta "blanket," from Late Latin mantum "cloak," from Latin mantellum "cloak" (see mantle (n.)).
1570s, "deprive or strip of fortifications or equipment, raze, destroy, tear down," from French desmanteler "to tear down the walls of a fortress," literally "strip of a cloak," from des- "off, away" (see dis-) + manteler "to cloak," from mantel "cloak" (see mantle (n.)). The literal sense, "deprive of dress, strip" (c. 1600) is archaic or obsolete in English. Related: Dismantled; dismantling.
very large ray (also called devilfish), 1760, from Spanish manta "blanket" (which is attested in English from 1748 in this sense, specifically in reference to a type of wrap or cloak worn by Spaniards), from Late Latin mantum "cloak," from Latin mantellum "cloak" (see mantle (n.)). The ray so called "for being broad and long like a quilt" [Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, "A Voyage to South America"].
1580s, "flexible traveling case or bag for clothes and other necessaries," from Middle French portemanteau "traveling bag," originally "court official who carried a prince's mantle" (1540s), from porte, imperative of porter "to carry" (see porter (n.1)) + manteau "cloak" (see mantle (n.)). Sometimes partially Englished as portmantle.
Portmanteau word "word blending the sound of two different words" (1882) was coined by "Lewis Carroll" (Charles L. Dodgson, 1832-1898) for the sort of words he invented for "Jabberwocky," on the notion of "two meanings packed up into one word." As a noun in this sense from 1872.
c. 1200, "short, loose, sleeveless cloak," variant of mantle (q.v.). Sense of "movable shelter for soldiers besieging a fort" is from 1520s.
The meaning "timber or stone supporting masonry above a fireplace" is attested by 1510s; it is a shortened form of Middle English mantiltre "mantle-tree" (late 15c.) "beam of oak or some other hard wood above a fireplace or oven" (with tree in the now-obsolete sense of "beam"). But the exact meaning of mantle in that had become obscure by the 19c.
In a fire-place, the mantle or mantlepiece, may have been either a covered or chimney-piece; or the part below it to which a hanging, for the sake of making a flue for the wind to draw up the fire, was attached. The details, however, of this are uncertain. [Robert Gordon Latham, "A Dictionary of the English Language," 1882]
Mantel-clock "clock intended to sit on a mantle-shelf," is by 1824.
loose gown opening in front worn by women 17c.-18c. (also the name of a type of loose cloak worn by women c. 1850), 1670s, a corruption of French manteau "cloak, mantle," from Old French mantel (see mantle); form influenced in English by Mantua, name of the city in Italy. Mantua-maker (1690s) became by mid-18c. the general term for "dressmaker."
[The mantua-maker's] business is to make Night-Gowns, Mantuas, and Petticoats, Rob de Chambres, &c for the Ladies. She is Sister to the Taylor, and like him, must be a perfect Connoisieur in Dress and Fashions; and like the Stay-Maker, she must keep the Secrets she is entrusted with, as much as a woman can .... She must learn to flatter all Complexions, praise all Shapes, and, in a word, ought to be compleat Mistress of the Art of Dissimulation. It requires a vast Stock of Patience to bear the Tempers of most of their Customers, and no small Share of Ingenuity to execute their innumerable Whims. [R. Campbell, "The London Tradesman," 1747]