Aloha! Hawaiian Words You Must Know on Your Trip to Hawaii

Hawaiian words to know
The Hawaiian language can be best described as soft, musical, and welcoming. So the next time you are in Hawaii, don't restrict yourself to 'Aloha'. Learn a few more words as an ode to this beautiful language and beautiful culture.
Did you know?
The name 'Wikipedia' has a Hawaiian connection. 'Wiki' in Hawaiian means 'quick', and 'pedia' coming from encyclopedia.
To contain the mellifluous Hawaiian language in a fistful of words is a tough task to accomplish. It is one of the few languages where a single word may have varying interpretations.

Sweating already? Well, there is no reason to worry. The words that have been listed here are simple enough, and can be used without an ounce of hesitation. We've included greetings and salutations, along with a few practical words that will help you find your way across this tropical paradise.

The kind, generous, and free-spirited people of Hawaii welcome you into their fold the moment you step on the islands. It is only fitting that you return the favor by making an effort to learn a few words of their language, as a gesture of respect. Let us begin, then?
Hawaiian Words You Ought to Know
Aloha
Hawaiian lady welcoming
In a singular sense, 'Aloha' is a greeting. Probe further, and aloha blossoms into 'hello', 'welcome', 'goodbye'; in fact, it encompasses all of what it means to be Hawaiian, which includes sharing love for the spirit of Hawaii. 'Aloha kakahiaka' is how you say good morning, and 'Aloha ahiahi' is to wish someone good evening. Be generous with the usage of this greeting... you are in the Aloha State, after all.
Mahalo
'Mahalo' is another word that you ought to memorize and use generously. This is the Hawaiian word that expresses gratitude. The people here are kind, friendly, and giving, so it goes without saying that you'll be using and hearing this word quite frequently. Hawaiians are thankful for all that nature has bestowed upon them, and it would be great if you appreciate this concept while you are here.
Makai
It is easy to forget the regular way of following directions when you are here in Hawaii. North, south, east or west don't make much sense here. 'Makai' is the way towards the sea. And if you'd ask me, all the best places are in this very direction, towards the sea. So, the restaurant you're visiting may be on the makai side of Kuhio Avenue.
Mauka
Way towards mountains
One doesn't just follow the direction of the sea in Hawaii. To go the other way from makai, you'll need to go 'mauka', which means 'towards the mountains'. To have directions based on the geographical landscape is just so unique, and just so Hawaiian. Isn't it wonderful how regular life in Hawaii is peppered with influences of nature in all its subtleties?
Honu
Green turtle in hawaii
'Honu' or the Hawaiian green sea turtles are sacred to the natives, who are leaving no stone unturned to protect these endangered reptiles. If you happen to spot them on the shore, please refrain from touching them or going close to them. It would be great if you could donate something to the honu preservation efforts, as a token of gratitude for your stay.
Da kine
It's hard to define or contain the phrase 'da kine' to mean something specific. The word is not Hawaiian, but Pidgin (Hawaii Creole English), and is peppered in conversations as a filler. It can mean a lot, or nothing, depends on how you use it. If you still insist for a translation, 'what's-that-thing' is the only English expression that comes closest to it.
Kama'aina
It's hard to define or contain the phrase 'da kine' to mean something specific. The word is not Hawaiian, but Pidgin (Hawaii Creole English), and is peppered in conversations as a filler. It can mean a lot, or nothing, depends on how you use it. If you still insist for a translation, 'what's-that-thing' is the only English expression that comes closest to it.
Shaka
Hawaiian man with shaka sign
It's hard to define or contain the phrase 'da kine' to mean something specific. The word is not Hawaiian, but Pidgin (Hawaii Creole English), and is peppered in conversations as a filler. It can mean a lot, or nothing, depends on how you use it. If you still insist for a translation, 'what's-that-thing' is the only English expression that comes closest to it.
Wiki wiki
'Wikiwiki' refers to the airport shuttle that ferries passengers, but its actual meaning is very basic. 'Wiki' in Hawaiian means 'quick' or 'speedily', quite the contradiction to the laid-back and relaxed atmosphere here. And of course, let us not forget its famous connection to the 'fast' online encyclopedia - Wikipedia.
Kane/Wahine
Hawaii couple
'Kane' in Hawaiian stands for 'male', and 'wahine' for 'female'. It is unlikely you'd be using these words in sentences, but it would be helpful to discern which loo you can use if there aren't any pictures present on the doors. These may seem like trivial words to know, considering their utility. But a cocktail or two (or five) later, you'd come to know their significance.
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Pupu
Hawaiian food
'Pupu' commonly mean snacks or appetizers, and you'll always find them on the menu during happy hours at bars and restaurants. More in the line of Spanish tapas, these are platters of bite-sized seafood. Deliciously divine, don't miss out on these, whatever you do.
Maika'i
'Maika'i' can, in its most basic sense, translate to 'I am fine'. Dig deeper, and it also means healthy, happy, handsome or beautiful. It is a common name you'll come across here in the islands, be it individuals or even business establishments. Of course, like all Hawaiian words, this word too has multiple meanings. Thankfully, there aren't any contradictory interpretations of this word, which is quite common in Hawaiian.
Hawaii offers you a lot more than the usual sun, surf, and sand. It offers you warmth, peace of mind, along with extending a hand of friendship. Learn a little bit of their language, and you'll have a piece of Hawaii to keep for yourself forever.
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