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.”
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.
Our Hawaiian word for today is liʻiliʻi. Be sure to include the diacritical pronunciation mark, the backwards apostrophe called the ʻokina. It means small, little, in bits, or few. If you spell it right with the diacritical pronunciation marks, it is easier to pronounce.
Nui means big, greatest, grand, important, as in aliʻi nui. Hale nui would be a big house, and mea nui would be an important thing. Used as an adjective, it follows the noun. It can also mean “many or a group.”
Most of us are familiar with many Hawaiian terms for family members, but don't often use hoahānau, a good Hawaiian word for those born of the same generation. It combines hoa for “companion, friend, partner, or mate,” with hānau for “birth.” Hoahānau can be used for cousin, and comes in pretty handy in Hawaiʻi where we have large families – a nui na hoahānau.
Most of use the Hawaiian word kahu when we refer to the pastor of our church, a preacher, or minister. Kahu in its first meanings is an honored attendant, guardian, nurse, keeper of bones, regent, keeper, administrator. It is also a warden, caretaker, master, mistress. Even one who has a dog, cat, pig, or other pet.
Today's Hawaiian Word of the Day is most often used as a place name. Kapiʻolani is a medical center, a tree-lined boulevard, a park, a school, a playground, and so much more. All are named for Queen Kapiʻolani, wife of Kalākaua. Literally, it means “the arch of heaven,” and refers to the beautiful rainbows so frequently seen in Hawaiʻi. Rainbows signify the presence of royalty in old Hawaiʻi.
Poke means to slice, cut crosswise into pieces. That's why the delicious dish we all love is called poke. There's poke aku, poke heʻe, and a whole variety of poke dishes. Don't put any stress on the vowels, as that will change the meaning, and don't confuse poke, meaning to cut into pieces, with poki, which among other things is the name of a supernatural dog.
We often hear haole, meaning white person, in a negative connotation, but it is a perfectly good word, and used often in Hawaiian and English conversation. It means foreign, introduced, of foreign origin, or foreign introduction, as plants, pigs, chickens, yes, even people. So in Hawaiian, anyone or anything that is not native to Hawaiʻi is haole, such as koa haole for the foreign scrub brush koa, or ʻāina haole for a foreign land.
Kōkua is one of the Hawaiian words most frequently used in English conversation, but it's often mispronounced. Write it down and put a kahakō or stress mark over the first vowel, then say it aloud. It means help, aid, assistance, relief, assistant, helper, and more.
Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is kāhea meaning to call out, cry out, invoke, greet, or name. You may not use the word, but you hear its application often when you watch a hula performance and hear one or more of the dancers call out the first lines of a stanza as a cue to the chanter. Put stress on the first vowel.
Almost everyone knows that hula means, but did you know that hulahula means ballroom dancing with partners? Hulahula also means American dancing, ball, or even masked hula dancing. Don't confuse it with hula for the Hawaiian dance. Hulahula also has other meanings, such as the twitching of an eyelid, or the ceremonial killing of a pig and offering it to the gods during ceremonies dedicating a temple.
Māʻili is another one of those commonly used Hawaiian place names that is so often mispronounced, frequently confused with the name of the fragrant vine used as a lei. Today's Hawaiian Word of the Day is Māʻili, name of the community on the Leeward Oʻahu coast . Māʻili is the name of a beach park, surfing area, playground, school, and more.
Although mahina has several other meanings, the most common usage of the word is for moon, or month, or moonlight. It is also a crescent shaped fishhook, the eye of the snail at the end of its horn, a farm, plantation or patch, a variety of onion, and a variety of sweet potato. You hear it most often as moon or month – it's mahina.
Everyone is familiar with the word hānau from the popular greeting “hauʻoli lā hānau,” but many mispronounce it and often use it incorrectly. Hānau means “to give birth.” To say that one was born, requires adding the passive article ʻia, as in, “Hānau ʻia ʻo Kaʻimi Pono” – “Kaʻimi Pono was born.” In either case, be sure to stress the first vowel.
A kupua is a demi-god, or cultural hero, especially a supernatural being possessing several forms, one possessing magical powers. Kupua can often change their form and may assume non god-like, very everyday things.
Our Hawaiian word for today is puni meaning surrounded, controlled, overcome. Now that you know how to use the hoʻo prefix, you know that hoʻopuni can mean to surround, enclose, get control of: hoʻopuni.