Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A supernatural force believed to dwell in a person or sacred object.
  • n. Power; authority.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of supernatural energy in Polynesian religion that inheres in things or people.
  • n. Magical power.
  • n. Alternative spelling of manna.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The Chinese characters as used by the Japanese.
  • n. Power in general; authority; influence.
  • n. Magical or supernatural power.

Etymologies

Maori, integrity, charisma, prestige.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a Polynesian source such as Maori mana, ultimately from Proto-Polynesian *mana. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • The concept of an impersonal force or quality that resides in people, animals, and inanimate objects. The concept is common to many Oceanic languages, including Melanesian, Polynesian, and Micronesian. In anthropological discourse, mana as a generalized concept has attained a significant amount of interest, often understood as a precursor to formal religion. It has commonly been interpreted as "the stuff of which magic is formed", as well as the substance of which souls are made. (Wikipedia)

    May 23, 2008