The Latin origin of the word manifest, manifestus, literally meant “caught in the act.” Something described as manifest is clear and unmistakable. Thus, the familiar term “manifest destiny” refers to a clear, obvious, and inevitable future. As a verb, manifest is used in place of appear, reveal, show, or display, as a more sophisticated and precise way of denoting these actions. When the word manifest is used as a noun, it refers to the cargo list of a plane or ship, or it can refer to the actual cargo itself.

Manifest is…

  • A public declaration; an open statement; (general)
  • Something that is clear to see and it is easy to understand. (Adjective)
  • Someone knowing that something is true. (Verb)
  • A document specifying in detail the passengers or items carried for a specific destination.       (Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms)
  • A transport document that serves as a tally-sheet, and gives a detailed summary of all bills of lading (or air waybills) issued by a carrier (or its agent) for a particular voyage of a particular vessel or vehicle. For cargo carrying vessels or vehicles, a manifest lists its consignor, consignee, number, origin, destination, value, and other such information primarily for use by the customs authorities. Where the vessel or vehicle carries passengers, it lists their names, port of embarkation, port of disembarkation, etc., primarily for use by the immigration authorities. (Business Dictionary)