follow Dictionary.com

Your favorite word could be our Word of the Day!

manna

[man-uh] /ˈmæn ə/
noun
1.
the food miraculously supplied to the Israelites in the wilderness. Ex. 16:14–36.
2.
any sudden or unexpected help, advantage, or aid to success.
3.
divine or spiritual food.
4.
the exudation of the ash Fraxinus ornus and related plants: source of mannitol.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English, Old English < Late Latin < Greek mánna < Hebrew mān
Can be confused
manna, manner, manor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for mannas

manna

/ˈmænə/
noun
1.
(Old Testament) the miraculous food which sustained the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14–36)
2.
any spiritual or divine nourishment
3.
a windfall; an unexpected gift (esp in the phrase manna from heaven)
4.
a sweet substance obtained from various plants, esp from an ash tree, Fraxinus ornus (manna or flowering ash) of S Europe, used as a mild laxative
Word Origin
Old English via Late Latin from Greek, from Hebrew mān
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mannas

manna

n.

Old English borrowing from Late Latin manna, from Greek manna, from Hebrew man, probably literally "substance exuded by the tamarisk tree," but used in Greek and Latin specifically with reference to the substance miraculously supplied to the Children of Israel during their wandering in the Wilderness (Ex. xvi:15). Meaning "spiritual nourishment" is attested from late 14c. Generalized sense of "something provided unexpectedly" is from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
mannas in the Bible

Heb. man-hu, "What is that?" the name given by the Israelites to the food miraculously supplied to them during their wanderings in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15-35). The name is commonly taken as derived from _man_, an expression of surprise, "What is it?" but more probably it is derived from _manan_, meaning "to allot," and hence denoting an "allotment" or a "gift." This "gift" from God is described as "a small round thing," like the "hoar-frost on the ground," and "like coriander seed," "of the colour of bdellium," and in taste "like wafers made with honey." It was capable of being baked and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in a mortar (Ex. 16:23; Num. 11:7). If any was kept over till the following morning, it became corrupt with worms; but as on the Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double portion was given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of the Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the gathering of it are fully given (Ex. 16:16-18, 33; Deut. 8:3, 16). It fell for the first time after the eighth encampment in the desert of Sin, and was daily furnished, except on the Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings, till they encamped at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased, and where they "did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more" (Josh. 5:12). They now no longer needed the "bread of the wilderness." This manna was evidently altogether a miraculous gift, wholly different from any natural product with which we are acquainted, and which bears this name. The manna of European commerce comes chiefly from Calabria and Sicily. It drops from the twigs of a species of ash during the months of June and July. At night it is fluid and resembles dew, but in the morning it begins to harden. The manna of the Sinaitic peninsula is an exudation from the "manna-tamarisk" tree (Tamarix mannifera), the el-tarfah of the Arabs. This tree is found at the present day in certain well-watered valleys in the peninsula of Sinai. The manna with which the people of Israel were fed for forty years differs in many particulars from all these natural products. Our Lord refers to the manna when he calls himself the "true bread from heaven" (John 6:31-35; 48-51). He is also the "hidden manna" (Rev. 2:17; comp. John 6:49,51).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for mannas

manna

in biblical literature, one or more of the foods that sustained the Hebrews during the 40 years that intervened between their Exodus from Egypt and their arrival in the Promised Land. The word is perhaps derived from the question man hu? ("What is it?"), asked by the Hebrews when they first tasted the substances that they found growing or deposited by the wind on the arid land that they inhabited. The manna was gathered and was used in part to prepare bread, and it was therefore referred to as "bread from heaven."

Learn more about manna with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for manna

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mannas

8
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for mannas