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Common Hawaiian Words

English and Hawaiian are Hawai'i’s two official languages. Until the arrival of American missionaries in the early 1800’s the Hawaiian language was an oral tradition. These missionaries helped create a written form of the language. It consists of five vowels and seven consonants: a, e, i, o, u, h, k, l, m, n, p and w.

'A ina – (eye-nah) – Land.
Ali’i – (ah-LEE-ee) – A Hawaiian chief; a member of the chiefly class.
Aloha – (ah-LOW-ha) – Hello, goodbye, or a feeling or the spirit of love, affection, or kindness.
Hale – (hah-leh) – House or building.
Hana – (ha-nah) – Work.
Hana hou – (ha-nah-HO) – To do again.
Haole – (how-leh) – foreigner; Caucasion.
He`iau – (hey-ee-ow) – Hawaiian temple.
Hula – (hoo-lah) – The story-telling dance of Hawai`i.
Imu – (ee-moo) – An underground oven.
Kahuna – (kah-HOO-na) – A priest or minister; someone who is an expert in a profession.
Kai – (kigh) – The sea.
Kalua – (KAH-loo-ah) – Cooking food underground.
Kama`aina – (kah-ma-EYE-nah) – Long-time Hawaiian resident.
Kane – (kah-neh) – Boy or man.
Kapu – (kah-poo) – Forbidden, taboo; keep out.
Keiki – (kay-key) – Child or children.
Kokua – (koh-koo-ah) – Help.
Kona – (koh-NAH) – Leeward side of the island; wind blowing from the south, southwest direction.
Lanai – (lah-NIGH) – Porch, veranda, patio.
Lei – (lay) – Necklace of flowers, shells, or feathers.
Limu – (lee-moo) – Edible seaweed
Lomi – (loh-mee) – To rub or massage; lomi salmon is raw salmon rubbed with salt.
Lu`au – (loo-ow) – Hawaiian feast; literally means taro leaves.
Mahalo – (mah-hah-low) – Thank you.
Makai – (mah-kigh) – Toward the sea.
Malihini – (mah-lee-hee-nee) – A newcomer, visitor, or guest.
Mauka – (mow-kah) – Toward the mountain.
'Ohana – (oh-hah-na) – Family.
'Ono – (oh-no) – Delicious, the best tasting.
Pali – (pah-lee) – A cliff.
Paniolo – (pah-nee-oh-low) – Hawaiian cowboy.
Pau – (pow) – Finish, end, etc., Pau hana means quitting time from work.
Poi – (poy) – Pounded kalo (taro) root that forms a starchy paste.
Pono – (poh-no) – Goodness, excellence, correct, proper.
Pua – (poo-ah) – Flower, blossom.
Pupu – (poo-poo) – Appetizer, snacks, or finger foods.
Wahine – (wah-hee-nay) – Woman.
Wai – (why) – Fresh water.
Wikiwiki – ( wee-kee-wee-kee) – To hurry up, very quick.


 

Video Courtesy of the Kauai Visitors Bureau


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The Cliffs at Princeville, located within Princeville Resort on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii, offers first-class vacation rentals, vacation ownership and timeshare.