As is the case when you visit any place, it is important to learn a few words and phrases of that destination. This separates you from the average tourist. In Hawaii, the island and the locals will fill you with the “Aloha spirit,” especially if you take the time to learn these key words and phrases of the Hawaiian language.
The Hawaiian Language – Key Words & Phrases
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This is an unofficial unabridged list of Hawaiian words and phrases. In Hawaii, pronounce all the vowels in syllables, so the Likelike Highway is “lee-key, lee-key.”
• Aloha. Hello and goodbye It also means peace, goodwill and all things warm and fuzzy. Hawaii is very proud of its “Aloha Spirit,” which the locals spread throughout the islands.
• Bento. Box lunch, a Hawaiian food staple.
• Brah/Bruddah. A man. Usually the word is used to say hi to someone. Example, “Hey, bruddah, where are you going?” Pronounced “bra” and “brud-da.”
• Da. The, as in “da bruddah is over there.”
• Grind. To eat. Pronounced “grine.”
• Hana Hou. Do it again. A crowd often yells it repeatedly it in a bar to encourage a band to continue playing. Pronounced “ha na HO.”
• Haole.A non-Hawaiian male, sometimes used by locals to describe a tourist.
Pronounced “HOW lee.”
• Hawaiian Time. Late, with a built-in 15-minute grace period.
• Howzit. Another way to say “Aloha.” Example: “Howzit brah?”
Pronounced “HOW zit.”
• Kane. A man. Pronounced “KA ne.”
• Keiki. Kids. Pronounced “KA key.
• Mahalo. Thank you. It is utilized frequently to acknowledge something nice someone does for you. Example: “Mahalo for the beer, brah.” Pronounced “ma HA lo.”
• Mainland. The continental United States.
• Okole Maluna. Cheers! This is a combination of these two words. Okole is your rear end and maula is the moon. So it quite literally means “bottoms up.”
• Ono. Delicious. Pronounced “OH no.”
• Pau/Pau hana. Pau means “finished” and pau Hana” means work. Locals may say “Pua hana, time for a cocktail,” meaning work is finished and it’s off to Happy Hour. Pronounced “pow HA na.”
• Puku. A hole. The white little shell necklaces are Puku necklaces. Pronounced “POO kah.
• Pupus. Appetizers (seen frequently on restaurant menus; there are also Pupus Platters, which are a variety of appetizers). Pronounced “Poo poos.”
• Shaka. The “thumbs up” hand single, meaning howzit. Pronounced “SHAH ka.”
• Wahine. A woman. Pronounced “wa HEE nay.”
• Complete Hawaii Visitor’s Guide
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