Word of the day: Mana

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Mana

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Mana is a traditional term that refers to a concept among the speakers of Oceanic languages, including Melanesians, Polynesians, and Micronesians. It is an impersonal force or quality that resides in people, animals, and inanimate objects and that instills in the appreciative observer a sense of respect or wonder. 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.

Modern fantasy fiction, computer and role-playing games, have adopted mana as a term for magic points—an expendable resource out of which magic users form their magical spells.

Mana should not be confused with the Biblical manna (also spelled mana or mannah) which, according to the Bible (Exodus, chapter 16), provided sustenance for the Israelites.

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