1. In the Bible, the food miraculously provided for the Israelites in the wilderness during their flight from Egypt.
2. Spiritual nourishment of divine origin.
3. Something of value that a person receives unexpectedly: viewed the bonus as manna from heaven.
4. A dried exudate of certain plants, especially the Eurasian ash tree Fraxinus ornus, formerly used as a laxative.
5. A sweet granular substance excreted on the leaves of plants by certain insects, especially scale insects and aphids, sometimes harvested for food.
[Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Greek, from Aramaic mannā, from Hebrew mān; see mnn in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.