Leilani Poli`ahu

Host, Hawaiian Word of the Day

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.

Hoʻopulapula means to rehabilitate. That's why we use it to describe homestead lands. They're called ʻāina hoʻopulapula, lands for the rehabilitation of Hawaiians/Homestead lands.

Nahu means to bite. And it can be the bite of anything – from an insect that bites, to the bite of a dog, or even the bite you take out of a piece of cake.

Hoʻonanea means to relax, kick back, mellow out. It's also the name of a beautiful song and hula. E hoʻonanea kākou – let's all kick back.

You've all heard the word ipo for sweetheart or lover. Here's another one! Try huapala. Huapala literally means “ripe fruit.” It's another way to say “sweetheart” in Hawaiian.

A moʻolelo is a story, a tale, a myth, a tradition, even a record of something happening. All the stories you read in the newspaper or hear on television are moʻolelo, even those regarded as news.

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.

Our Hawaiian word for today is nahele, for forest. Now you know the common Hawaiian family name, Kanahele, can mean the forest.

Peʻe means to hide. Not to be confused with hiding something. Peʻe means to hide oneself, as when we play hide and seek. E peʻe ana au – I'm hiding!

Pēlā means “in that way,” and pēlā nō means “that's so, that's it, that's how it is, exactly.” It's a handy word to know and our Hawaiian word for today. Pēlā nō – that's it.

Lawelawe means "to serve, work for, minister to, tend, attend to." When you serve dinner, that's what you're doing, lawelawe.

Our Hawaiian word for today is leho for cowry shell. It is a very generic term for the cowry. Leho can be modified by adding other words to make the name specific for each of the many types of cowry, but leho will always work.

Ikaika means strong, powerful, sturdy, and more. It is a very popular name now days, especially for boys whose parents want them to grow up ikaika. Be careful how you pronounce it, and don't insert an ʻokina that doesn't belong.

Most of us have seen the Hawaiian word ʻōpala, and know it to mean rubbish or garbage, so by adding the causative prefix hoʻo, we can make it mean “to litter.” The new word is hoʻōpala.

Our Hawaiian word for today is mea maʻa mau, meaning “a common thing.” Be sure to sound the glottal stop or ʻokina when you maʻa. Hamburgers and French fries are a mea maʻa mau for our youngsters now days.

Hoʻokaʻaʻike means to communicate. There's a lot more to communicating than just talking, and you'll find this new word very handy.

Hōʻole means to deny, refuse, reject, veto, and many more things of that nature. That's what the legislature did when they refused to pass the bill you wanted passed – hōʻole.

Poeko means “fluent.” There are not many people who are truly poeko in the Hawaiian language, but the number is increasing. You don't have to be Hawaiian to be poeko in Hawaiian and you don't have to be a native speaker. Many who are poeko have learned Hawaiian as a second language.

Our Hawaiian word for today is lawa, enough. You might hear it from a hula dancer who wants to end the song right then and there, and who tells the singer, “Lawa, enough already.” Or “aʻohe lawa ka Manawa” – “there is not enough time.”

Pololei means “correct.” Pololei ʻoe means “you are correct.”

Our Hawaiian word for today is something we all like to eat, often with kālua pig. Kāpiki means cabbage. The next time you order kālua pig and cabbage, call it kāpiki.

For the caller who wanted to know what puana meant, as in the line so commonly used in the last verse of a song. In that case, puana means the attack or beginning of a song. Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana just means to start to tell the summary, refrain of the song.

Peʻa means a cross, or to cross. That's just one meaning, and there are many. But think of it when you make an “x” on the paper in a game of tic-tac-toe – that's a peʻa.

Our Hawaiian word for today is kāpae, meaning to throw out, discard. Before you kāpae your old clothing, think about others who might be able to use them. Perhaps you could give them to someone, or to the Salvation Army or Goodwill industries.

If you listen to Hawaiian speakers, you often hear the word mea. Mea just means “thing,” and it can be used in so many different ways, usually with a modifier. A mea hula is a dancer, a mea nui is a large or important thing, and a mea oli is a chanter.

Our Hawaiian word for today is a new one, pāmia. It means used, as in second hand. So a second hand car is a kaʻa pāmia.