Hawaiian Vocabulary

This is a page that will be updated with our ever-building vocabulary of Hawaiian words and with any other additions to Homespun Honolulu’s site that are specifically educational in the area of Hawaiiana.

The vocabulary list may get too long for the top of the page so I may need to move it to the bottom in time. But, for now we’ll keep it at the top of this page in alphabetical order. Any educators or students from Kamehameha or Punana leo Schools, please feel free to send me a comment and/or corrections as you see fit!

Aloha: More a state of being or a condition, aloha can include any one (or more) of the following adjectives: love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards — and there are others that might be added to this.

Aumakua: Family or personal gods; deified ancestors who take on the form of one of several different animals who often warn or reprimand mortal humans. Sometimes used as a figure of speech to describe a very trusted person.

Auwe: Oh dear! Oh boy! Alas! Too bad!  Scorn; pity; bewail.

Hale: House or home; may also mean host or hospitable person

Honolulu: Sheltered bay.

Honu: Turtle or tortoise; one of the Hawaiian Aumakua

Ho’olaule’a: Celebration.

Hukilau: To fish with seine (nets with weights along the bottom and floaters at the top).

Huh?: Angry or indignant.

I mua: To move forward, move ahead, progress.

Iwi: Bone; carcass; bones of the dead.

Ka Wai Ola: Water for life.

Kanapapiki: Son of a bitch. 

Keiki: Child, offspring, descendant, progeny, youngster, children

Kupuna: Grandparent, grandaunt, granduncle, other relative or close friend of grandparent, ancestor.

Lu’ulu’u: heavy grief; bent or heavy laden, as with weight, sorrow, or trouble; painful, sorrowful, sad, bereaved.

Mahalo: Thank you.

Ma’ema’e: Clean, pure, attractive, chaste.

Malama Pono: Take care, take good care.

Man?: Shark; one of the Hawaiian Aumakua.

Mo’o lele: Dragon; flying serpent.

Nuku: Scolding, ranting, raving, grumbling.

Ohana: Family or kin group.

Ohumu: Complain, grumble, find fault, conspire, plot.

Opala: Trash, litter, garbage.

Paka kaniwala: Amusement park or carnival.

Pali: Cliff, precipice, slope or steep hill.

Pehea ‘oe?: How are you?

Pilikia: Trouble, annoyance, or to “make humbug” (make trouble).

Po’ino: Hard luck, affliction, distress, disaster, calamity, danger, misery, injury, peril.

Pueo: Owl; Hawaiian short-eared owl, one of the Hawaiian Aumakua; short

Pupule: Crazy, insane, nuts, wild.