Puke wehewehe 'olelo
Consonants are pronounced as they are in English, with the
exception of W. After I and E, W is usually pronounced like V.
A is usually pronounced like A in ABOVE.
E is usually pronounced like AY in PLAY.
I is usually pronounced like EE in SEE.
O is usually pronounced like O in GO.
U is usually pronounced like OO in BOO.
-- The land, earth. eg.
Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina
i ka pono. The life of the
land is perpetuated in righteousness. (Hawaii's state motto.)
'akahi -- One. (Especially when counting in a series.)
ali'i -- Ancient Hawaiian royalty.
aloha -- A greeting, also used when parting. Both hello and goodbye. Love.
'alua -- Two. Twice.
'au'au -- To bathe or take a shower. eg. Gotta go 'au'au after fishing all day.
'eha -- Four. Four times.
'ekahi -- One. Once.
'ekolu -- Three. Three times.
'elima -- Five. Five times.
'elua -- Two. Twice.
ewa -- An area west of Honolulu. (Used as a directional term.) eg. Head ewa on H-1 and take the Waikele offramp to the outlet stores.
hala -- The pandanus tree, whose leaves are plaited into mats, baskets and hats.
halau -- A long house for canoes or hula instruction. Often used to refer to hula troupes. eg. A halau from Kauai took second place in the 1996 hula festival on the Big Island.
hale -- House. eg. It's appropriate that Honolulu's City Hall is called Honolulu Hale.
hapu'u -- An endemic tree fern, common in many forests of Hawai'i, and now frequently cultivated.
haole -- Originally, a foreigner, but the term is now used mainly to depict blondes or Caucasians.
hihiwai -- An endemic grainy snail found in both fresh and brackish water.
ho'oponopono -- To correct.
hui -- A club, association or group.
hukilau -- A net; to fish with a net.
hula -- A lovely Hawaiian dance form.
huli -- To turn or flip over.
humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a -- This is Hawaii's state fish, whose nose is shaped like a pig's.
imu -- An underground oven. eg. The kalua pig at the luau was cooked in an imu.
kahuna -- A priest, minister or expert in any field. eg. A kahuna was asked to bless the site before construction began.
kahuna lapa'au -- A healer or doctor.
kai -- Sea, near the sea.
kalua -- To bake in an underground pit or oven. Often used to describe pig served at lu'aus.
kama'aina -- A native-born or longtime Island resident.
kane -- Man or men. eg. Go through the door marked kane, not wahine.
keiki -- Child or children.
kiawe -- Algaroba tree. Like mesquite, its wood is often used to barbecue.
kokua -- Assistance, help. eg. We need your kokua. Please don't litter.
koloa -- Hawaiian duck. Considered an endangered species.
konohiki -- Headman of an ahupua'a (land division).
kukui -- Candlenut tree bearing nuts containing oily kernels formerly used for lighting by ancient Hawaiians. eg. Polished kukui nuts are often used to make leis.
kuleana -- Small piece of property.
kumu hula -- Teacher of Hawaiian dance. eg. Our kumu hula is strict, but a gentle spirit.
la'au lapa'au -- Medicine. Curing medicine.
Leilani Hawaii -- Heavenly lei or royal child
-- A fragrant fern whose pieces were often strung in pandanus leis.
laulau -- A combination of pork, beef, chicken and/or fish, wrapped in luau leaves and steamed.
lei -- A flower necklace. eg. Each of her friends gave her a lei at the graduation ceremony.
liliko'i -- Passion fruit used for desserts and beverages. eg. Order the liliko'i juice; it's exotic.
lokahi -- Unity. To blend opposites.
lomilomi -- Massage. eg. Ah, after a tough day at work, I could use some lomilomi.
lua -- Bathroom, toilet. eg. He went to the lua about an hour ago....wonder if he's coming back to work.
luna -- A foreman, boss or supervisor. eg. Get busy; here comes the luna.
mahalo -- Thank you.
makai -- Toward the ocean. (Used in giving directions.) eg. Turn right on Kalakaua Ave., go two blocks, then makai on Royal Hawaiian.
mahimahi -- A dolphinfish (not a dolphin mammal) . A very popular dish with both visitors and locals alike.
malihini -- A newcomer or visitor.
mauka -- Toward the mountains. (Used in giving directions.) eg. The hotel is on the mauka side of the street.
Menehune -- a legendary race of little people who worked at night building fish ponds, roads and temples
'ono -- Delicious, tasty, savory. eg. The laulau was ono!
opae -- Shrimp. eg. They caught some opae to use as bait.
'opakapaka -- Blue snapper. eg. The special of the day is steamed 'opakapaka sprinkled with crushed almonds and served on a bed of rice pilaf or the pasta of your choice.
'opihi -- Limpet. Plucked from shoreline walls and eaten raw. eg. 'Opihi make great pupus (appetizers.)
'opu -- Stomach. eg. Santa got a big 'opu from eating so much laulau, fish and poi.
pau -- Finished. eg. All pau. What's next?
pau hana -- Finished with work. eg. Yeah!, pau hana time. Let's hit the surf.
pikake -- A shrub with small, white, very fragrant flowers. eg. Her pikake lei smells so good.
piko -- Umbilical cord, navel.
pipi kaula -- Beef salted and dried in the sun. Broiled before eaten.
pohaku -- Rock, stone.
poi -- A Hawaiian staple made from cooked taro.
poke -- Raw fish chunks mixed with seaweed. eg. Let's put a little bit of chili pepper in with the poke for more flavor.
po'okela -- Best, supreme, foremost.
pua'a -- A pig or hog.
tutu -- Grandmother.
'ukulele -- A musical Hawaiian string instrument, introduced by the Portugese.
ulua -- A species of jack crevalle. eg. We caught two huge ulua and a few smaller fish today.
'ulu maika -- Stone used in playing the maika game (bowling). eg. Visitors can play 'ulu maika at some luaus.
umeke -- Bowl, calabash, as of wood or gourd.
wahine -- Woman or women. eg. The Rainbow wahine are one of the top ranked volley ball teams in the nation year after year.
weke -- Several species of edible, goatfish that inhabit Hawaiian reefs, characterized by a red color or striped markings.
Go to top of Page
Created ... June 1, 2008
Updated ... March 28, 2009
Copyright by Jamie Dodson 2007 - 2009