Note: Many Hawaiian words have more than one meaning depending upon placement of diacritical (pronunciation) marks. However, current browser technology does not facilitate universal and uniform application and utilization of Hawaiian diacriticals by browser fonts and search engines. As a result, we have been unable to use them on this site. Following are common meanings to some widely used Hawaiian Words:
Aa: rough, crumbling lava.
Ahupuaa: land division usually extending from the mountains to the sea.
Akamai: smart, clever.
Akua: god, goddess, spirit, ghost, devil, image, idol, corpse; divine, supernatural, godly.
Ala: a road, path, or trail.
Alii: a Hawaiian chief, Hawaiian royalty.
Aloha: love, affection, kindness. Also means both greetings and farewell.
Aumakua: family or personal gods, deified ancestors who might assume the shape of, for example, a shark, owl, dog, hawk, plant, or cloud.
Hale: a house.
Haole: white person. Formerly any foreigner.
Hapa: a part, sometimes a half.
Hauoli: to rejoice. Hauoli Makahiki Hou: Happy New Year.
Heiau: an ancient Hawaiian temple.
Hele: to go, come, walk.
Holo: to run.
Hui: a group, club, or assembly.
Hula: the dance of Hawaii.
Imu: underground oven.
Ipu: the bottle gourd used as a receptacle, dance rattle and drum.
Ka: the definite article.
Kahuna: a priest, doctor, or other trained person of old Hawaii, endowed with special professional skills that often included the gift of prophecy or other supernatural powers.
Kai: the sea, saltwater.
Kalo: the taro plant from whose root poi is made.
Kamaaina: literally, a child of the soil, it refers to people who were born in the Islands or have lived in Hawaii for a long time.
Kanaka: originally a man or humanity in general, it is now used to denote a male Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian.
Kane: a man, a husband.
Kapa: also called tapa, a cloth made of beaten bark.
Kapu: taboo, keep out, prohibited, sacred.
Kapuna: grandparent, ancestor, elder.
Keiki: a child.
Kuleana: responsibility, concern, property.
Lanai: a porch, balcony or deck.
Lani: heaven, the sky.
Lauhala: the leaf of the hala or pandanus tree, widely used in Hawaiian handcrafts.
Lei: a garland of flowers.
Lokahi: unity, agreement, harmony.
Luau: Hawaiian feast. In the past the word for feast was paina.
Mahalo: thank you. Mahalo nui loa: thank you very much.
Makai: toward the sea.
Malihini: a newcomer to the Islands.
Mana: the spiritual power that the Hawaiians believed to inhabit all things and creatures.
Mauka: toward the mountains.
Mele: chant, song, anthem. Merry Christmas: Mele Kalikimaka.
Menehune: a legendary race of little people who worked at night building fish ponds, roads and temples.
Moana: the ocean.
Muumuu: a loose gown or dress.
Oli: a chant that was not danced to.
Pahoehoe: smooth lava.
Pali: a cliff, precipice.
Paniolo: a Hawaiian cowboy.
Pau: finished, done.
Puka: a hole.
Pupu: hors d'oeuvres
Wahine: a female, a woman, a wife.
Wai: fresh water, as opposed to saltwater, which is kai.
Wikiwiki: to hurry, hurry up.