Etymology
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mantissa (n.)

"decimal part of a logarithm," 1865, from Latin mantisa "a worthless addition, makeweight," perhaps a Gaulish word introduced into Latin via Etruscan (compare Old Irish meit, Welsh maint "size"). So called as being "additional" to the characteristic or integral part. The Latin word was used in 17c. English in the sense of "an addition of small importance to a literary work, etc."

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Definitions of mantissa

mantissa (n.)
the positive fractional part of the representation of a logarithm; in the expression log 643 = 2.808 the mantissa is .808;
Synonyms: fixed-point part
From wordnet.princeton.edu