Leilani Poli`ahu

Host, Hawaiian Word of the Day

Wahiawā is one of those beautiful Oʻahu place names that is so often mispronounced. It means "place of noise," for the rough seas could be heard all the way to Wahiawā.

Hiapo means "first born." It is used often in Hawaiian to describe the eldest child, the first born. Like many cultures, there is a special significance attached to being the first born, or hiapo, in a Hawaiian family.

Hoʻopau means to "put an end to, finish, conclude, completely, all." To finish your work is to hoʻopau i kau hana. Hoʻopau also means "to waste," as in hoʻopau manawa – to waste time.

Kula has a number of meanings including: "plain, field, or open pasture." It also means "a source" and it is Hawaiian for the English word "gold." But perhaps the best known usage in English is to mean "school." Say it with a modifier, such as kula kiʻe kiʻe, a high school.

Today’s Hawaiian word of the day is one of the most commonly used of Hawaiian words, Lani. It means "sky, heaven, or heavenly," and can also mean "spiritual." Lani is part of many proper names, such as Leilani for “heavenly lei.”

Mōʻī means "king, sovereign, monarch." And mōʻī followed the word wahine means "queen." The word mōʻī is of recent origin, and may be used by itself to mean a monarch of either gender.

Mākaukau means "able, competent, prepared." You often hear this word called out by chanters who are asking the hula dancers if they are ready. The answer is always ʻae, for yes.

Hiamoe means sleep. Don’t confuse it with the Hawaiʻi creole English word, moe moe, which is used to mean "sleep" in that pidgin language. Moe moe in Hawaiian means "to lie in ambush or to lurk."

Kīkākila comes from two English words. Kīkā comes from the English word "guitar." Kila is from the English word "steel." Put them together and you get the Hawaiian word for steel guitar.

Papaheʻenalu. Well Papa can mean a "board or almost any kind of flat surface." Adding heʻenalu to it makes it a surfboard. Heʻe means "to slide or surf," and nalu means "wave." Put it all together and you get a surfboard.

Piha means full, complete, filled, loaded. Piha koʻopu simply means the stomach is full. Piha can also mean full-blooded; as in Hawaiʻi piha, pure Hawaiian.

Hungry? In Hawaiian we say pōloli. It means hungry, hunger, famine.

ʻŌlelo means language, speech, statement, utterance, term, tidings or to speak, tell, say, talk. The Hawaiian language is the ʻōlelo of Hawaiʻi.

Another popular Hawaiian place name that is often mispronounced is Nānākuli. It has stresses on both the first and second syllables. It is that beautiful place on leeward Oʻahu and it means “look” (Nānā) “at me” (kuli).

Todayʻs word of the day is a well-known name, Liliʻuokalani. She was our last queen, overthrown in January 1893. Many mispronounce because of familiarity of the English name Lily.

Pālule-t means t-shirt. And as you may have guessed, it is a relatively new term. Yes, pālule means "shirt," and we just added the modifier "T" following the noun.

Mākaʻi means policeman, also means to police or inspect. Since all of our policemen speak English, you won’t need to ask for one in Hawaiian. But it will impress many of them if you can call them a mākaʻi.

Awakea means “noon or mid-day.” We often hear awakea used with aloha for a greeting at that time of the day. Aloha awakea.

Our Hawaiian word for today is kahuna, a word that is so often misused. Kahuna means “priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession whether male or female.” In the year 1845, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, and dentists were all called kahuna.

Kaulana means “famous, celebrated, renowned, well-known.”

Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is often mispronounced place name, Haʻikū. It means “a sharp break or to speak abruptly,” and is often confused with the Hawaiian term haiku for a type of poetry.

Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is actually two words, hale kūʻai. It means a store or a shop, a place that sells things you might buy.

Whether you are talking about the place on Maui or a shawl that is draped over your shoulders, it is pronounced Kīhei with a stress on the first vowel. It means a shawl or cape, and is a well-known destination on the Valley Isle.

Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is a place name, Hālawa. It is a well known place on Hawaiʻi, Molokaʻi and on Oʻahu.

Hoʻomau means “to continue, keep on, persist, renew, perpetuate, persevere, and last.” Be sure to pronounce those glottal stops between the “o,” which is called an ʻokina in Hawaiian.

Pilikia is another of those Hawaiian words already in common usage in English conversation in Hawaiʻi. It means trouble of any kind, great or small, from a problem or nuisance, to an affliction or tragedy.

Our Hawaiian word for today, hāpai, is one most people in Hawaiʻi already know and use, even in English conversation. It means to carry, and is most often used to describe a woman who is expecting a baby. It also means “to lift, raise, hoist, hold up, or support.”

Mokuʻāina means state, as in the United States.

Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is mokupuni. It means island, from the word moku which means “cut or severed,” and puni which means “surrounded.” So it's a piece of land cut off and surrounded by water. It is commonly used even in English conversation.

We told you about ʻelemakule, which means old man, and today's Hawaiian Word of the Day is luahine, or old woman. It can also mean old lady. Both are proper terms, and it is perfectly all right to describe our older friends as ʻelemakule  and luahine.