Hawaiian Words to Know:
Here’s a handy list of simple Hawaiian words you may encounter and should learn:
‘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.
- The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters – the five regular vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and seven consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w).
- The vowels are pronounced ah, ey, ee, oh and oo, not ay, ee, eye, oh and you like in English.
- Most of the time each vowel in a word is pronounced separately.
- Remember that all letters are pronounced.
There are a couple of simple tricks to help you pronounce them properly:
- Hawaiian words may start with any letter, vowel or consonant.
- Hawaiian words will never end with a consonant.
- Syllables in Hawaiian words are only one or two letters, never longer.
- Syllables must end with a vowel, or can be a single vowel, but can never be a single consonant.