|What is it|
Man hu in Hebrew, which can also be translated, 'it is man,' or 'it is manna' (see Exodus 16:31). The word man here is taken to be a form of mah meaning what (Targum; Mekhilta; Ibn Janach s.v. Min; Josephus 3:1:6). Some say that it is an Egyptian expression (Rashbam; Ibn Ezra; Lekach Tov). Actually, in ancient Egyptian, 'what is this' would be ma nu, which would sound like man hu.
According to others the word man here means food (Rashi; Saadia; Ibn Ezra; Ibn Janach; cf. Sukkah 39b), possibly from the Egyptian (Sekhel Tov). The verse would then be translated, 'They did not know what it was, but when Moses said.... they said, 'It is food!' ' Others say that man is a gift, from the root manah (Radak, Sherashim).
In ancient Egyptian, the word man can mean a gift, something coming from the sky, or something coming every day. Significantly mem or man also denotes coriander (see Exodus 16:31).