Hawai‘i is a very international and multicultural place. There are two official languages, Hawaiian and English, but you will hear many other languages depending on where you are. Some commonly heard Hawaiian words and phrases are listed below:
- ‘aina = The land.
- “Aloha ‘āina” = is a love of the land.
- Akamai = Clever; smart; intelligent
- Aloha = Love; welcome; hello; good-bye; a common greeting.
- Diamond Head = Commonly used as a direction; i.e. Waikīkī is “Diamond Head” of downtown.
- ‘ewa = Commonly used as a direction (the opposite of “Diamond Head”)
- Hale = House
- Haole = Foreigner (now commonly refers to Caucasians)
- Hapa = Literally “half,” is used to describe a person of mixed blood
- Hau‘oli lā Hānau = Happy Birthday
- Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou = Happy New Year h
- Hui = A group or organization
- Kama‘āina = A native born Hawaiian or longtime resident
- Kanaka maoli = Indigenous Hawaiian
- Kāne = Man or men
- Keiki = Child or children
- Kōkua = Help. “Please Kōkua” means “Please Help.”
- Komo mai = Enter; welcome
- Kuleana = Responsibility
- Kumu = Teacher
- Lanai = Porch; balcony
- Lū‘au = Hawaiian feast
- Mahalo = Thank you
- Makai = Toward the ocean
- Mālama = To take care of; care for; preserve; protect
- Malihini = Newcomer
- Mauka = Toward the mountains
- Mele Kalikimaka = Merry Christmas
- ‘ohana = Family
- ‘ōlelo = Language
- ‘ono = Delicious
- Pau = Finished; ended; done. “Pau hana” is the end of the work week.
- Puka = Any kind of a hole or opening or blank (to be filled)
- Wahine = Woman or women. The UH women’s basketball and volleyball teams are the Rainbow Wahine!
Want to learn more Hawaiian language while you are here? Check out Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies courses online at Class Availability (https://www.sis.hawaii.edu/uhdad/avail.classes?i=MAN).