/man"i tooh'/, n., pl. manitous, (esp. collectively) manitou.
(among the Algonquian Indians) a supernatural being that controls nature; a spirit, deity, or object that possesses supernatural power.
Also, manito /man"i toh'/, manitu /man"i tooh'/.
[1605-15; < Unami Delaware monat·u, reinforced by or reborrowed from Ojibwa manito· and other cognates (all < Proto-Algonquian *maneto·wa); sp. influenced by equivalent F word]

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▪ North American Indian religion
      among Algonquian (Algonquian languages)-speaking peoples of North America, the spiritual power inherent in the world generally. Manitous are also believed to be present in natural phenomena (animals, plants, geographic features, weather); they are personified as spirit-beings that interact with humans and each other and are led by the Great Manitou (Kitchi-Manitou). The word was frequently used by 19th-century and early 20th-century anthropologists in their theories of animism, a religious system characteristic of many indigenous peoples. See also Coyote and Raven cycle.

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Universalium. 2010.

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