like manna from Heaven/bonanza

danielxu85

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
I know that "like manna from heaven" means an unexpected and beneficial gift, and "bonanza" means the unexpected arrival of luck or wealth. However, I don't think I understand the differences between them in terms of usage.

Here is the context:
Lang’s favorite commission was to fold an endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle for an entomologist who collects Salt Creek tiger beetle art. “For me, that commission was like manna from Heaven,” he said. “I’ll never be done with bugs.”
 
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    In my opinion, the difference between the two is that between material gain (bonanza) and mental, moral, or spiritual gain (manna from heaven).

    In AE, a bonanza is frequently associated with "striking gold" (finding gold) in the mid-19th century. So a synonym for "He found a bonanza" might be "He struck it rich."

    On the other hand, since "manna from Heaven" comes from the Book of Exodus in the Bible, and was portrayed there as a nourishing gift of God, a synonym for this phrase might, indeed, be "a gift from Heaven."

    I'm sure others will have other insights.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I think I would agree with that:

    Bonanza - probably material gain
    Manna from heaven - probably spiritual/moral gain

    They are also very different in style. "Bonanza" is quite staccato, whereas "manna from heaven" flows gently and softly...

    Traders had a bonanza in the stock market today!

    Her reassurances that he was doing well, and that the boss was pleased with him, were like manna from heaven to his bruised ego.

    These differences in sound/style also seems to support the material/spiritual gain idea.
     

    pachomius

    Senior Member
    USA / American English
    bonanza definitely implies the wild west and striking gold. purely material fortune.
    manna from heaven is not strictly spiritual (though it is biblical in origin), but i think the important distinguishing characteristic is that manna from heaven is NEEDED. without the manna, the hebrews would have died in the desert. they had no food and God supplied their needs.
    the commission example sounds like a bonanza to me. the person wouldn't have been hurting without the bugs, it was a bonus to receive the commission.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi pachomius. Although the Hebrews did need "manna from heaven", I would not say that it is used purely on the basis of "need" in modern English. Chambers English Dictionary has "...Anything advantageous happening to one, as by divine intervention or fate".

    (It would be manna from heaven if you could use some capital letters - we are asked to use standard English on the Forums:)).
     

    padredeocho

    Banned
    United States
    I know that "like manna from heaven" means an unexpected and beneficial gift, and "bonanza" means the unexpected arrival of luck or wealth. However, I don't think I understand the differences between them in terms of usage.

    Here is the context:


    Lang’s favorite commission was to fold an endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle for an entomologist who collects Salt Creek tiger beetle art. “For me, that commission was like manna from Heaven,” he said. “I’ll never be done with bugs.”

    EXAMPLE: When I gave the eight-year-old boy a chocolate bar, his eyes lit up as though it was manna from heaven.

    "Bonanza" is just not used that much. However, "bonanza farming" is farming that yields A HUGE AMOUNT of crops.
     
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