List of English words of Hawaiian origin
The Hawaiian language has offered a number of words to the English language. Some Hawaiian words are known to non-Hawaiian speakers, and a few have also been assimilated into the English language (e.g. "aloha", meaning "hello", "love", or "goodbye", or "mahalo", meaning "thank you"). English also borrows some Hawaiian words (e.g. "ukulele", "mahimahi" and "muʻumuʻu"). Hawaiian vocabulary often overlaps with other Polynesian languages such as Tahitian, so it is not always clear which of those languages a term is borrowed from.
The Hawaiian orthography is notably different from the English orthography because there is a special letter in the Hawaiian alphabet, the ʻokina. The ʻokina represents a glottal stop, which indicates a short pause to separate syllables. The kahakō represents longer vowel sounds. Both the ʻokina and kahakō are often omitted in English orthography.
Because the Hawaiian orthography is different from English orthography, the pronunciation of the words differ. For example, the "muʻumuʻu", traditionally a Hawaiian dress, is pronounced // MOO-moo by many mainland residents. However, many Hawaii residents have learned and realize that the ʻokina in Hawaiian signifies a glottal stop. Thus, in the Hawaiian language, "muʻumuʻu" is pronounced [ˈmuʔuˈmuʔu] MOO-oo-MOO-oo. The pronunciations listed here are how it would sound in Hawaiian orthography.
|a||[aː], [ɐ] or [ə]|
|e||[eː], [ɛ], or [e]|
|i||[iː] or [i]|
|o||[oː] or [o]|
|u||[uː] or [u]|
|Hawaiian word||Meaning||Pronunciation (IPA)||Definition link|
|ʻAʻa||A kind of rough-surface volcanic rock (in Hawaiian: 'a'ā). Note that there are two glottal stops before and after the first "a". Thus, it is not spoken as "ahh", but as "ah-ah".||[ʔəˈʔaː]||Link|
|Akamai||Intelligent, clever, smart.||[ʔɐkəˈmɛi]||Link|
|Aloha||Hello, goodbye, and love; outside of Hawaiʻi, only the first two meanings are used.||[ʔəˈlohə]||Link|
|ʻAwa||A Polynesian shrub, Piper methysticum, of the pepper family, the aromatic roots of which are used to make an intoxicating beverage||[ˈʔɐwə]||Link|
|Haole||Foreigner or outsider. Usually directed towards Caucasians or people from the mainland. May be said offensively, but is commonly said familiarly (not to be confused with haʻole, meaning "without breath"; the two have completely different meanings).
|Honu||Green sea turtle.||[ˈhonu]||Link|
|Hula||Ancient Hawaiian form of dance. In the older days, men used to do hula as a sign of masculinity and as a war dance. Also see haka. Many people get confused between the Hawaiian hula (more graceful and slow) and the Tahitian hula (quicker and more hip movements)||[ˈhulə]||Link|
|Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa||The reef triggerfish. The humuhumunukunukuapua'a is notorious for its long name, which many struggle to pronounce correctly (Humu (HOO-moo) + humu (HOO-moo) + nuku (NOO-koo) + nuku (NOO-koo) + wa (WAH) + pua'a (poo-WUH'-uh))||[ˌhumuˌhumuˌnukuˌnukuˌwaːpuˈwɐʔə]||Link|
|Kahuna||Hawaiian priest, wizard, or shaman; used in the slang phrase "big kahuna"||[kəˈhunə]||Link|
|Kamaʻāina||A local; someone who has lived in Hawaii for a long time||[kɐməˈʔɛinə]||Link|
|Kukui||The candlenut tree, state tree of Hawaii, so named because the nuts were used as candles. Kukui nut leis were worn by celebrities such as Jessica Simpson and Tyra Banks in 2005-07 and became popular must-have accessories.||[kuˈkuwi]||Link|
|Lānai||A veranda or patio, from the word lānai (not to be confused with the island, Lānaʻi)||[laːˈnɛi]||Link|
|Laniakea||The galaxy supercluster that is home to the Milky Way. It means "immeasurable heaven".||[la:niakæ]||Link|
|Lei||A garland of flowers and/or leaves to be worn around the neck.||[ˈlei]||Link|
|Luau||A Hawaiian feast (Hawaiian: lūʻau).||[luːˈʔɔu]||Link|
|Mahi-mahi||Dolphin fish; the word means "very strong."||[ˈmɐhiˈmɐhi]||Link|
|Mana||Magical or spiritual power.||[ˈmɐnə]|
|Mano||Shark (Hawaiian: manō) (not to be confused with the Spanish "mano", meaning "hand").||[ˈmɐno]|
|Muʻumuʻu (Muumuu)||A loose gown or dress incorrectly pronounced moo-moo in English, but properly pronounced "muʻumuʻu" in Hawaiian.||[ˈmuʔuˈmuʔu]||Link|
|ʻOhana||Family, neighborhood. May also mean a guest house where family members stay.||[ʔoˈhɐnə]||Link|
|Ono||Good to eat. May also refer to the Scombrid Fish, also known as the Wahoo.||[ˈono]||Link|
|Pahoehoe||A kind of smooth-surface volcanic rock.||[paːˈhoweˈhowe]||Link|
|Pele's hair||A type of volcanic glass fibers named after Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess of volcanoes (see also limu o Pele).||[ˈpɛlɛ]|
|Pele's tears||Solidified pieces of lava named after Pele.||—|
|Poi||A type of Hawaiian food made from mashing corms of the taro plant.||[ˈpoi]||Link|
|Puka||A hole or perforation. Puka shells are round shells with center holes, strung together to make popular necklaces.||[ˈpukə]||Link|
|Shaka||A hand gesture common in Hawaii by raising the thumb and pinky fingers to make a sign similar to the American Sign Language symbol for "Y".||—|
|Taboo||From Hawaiian "kapu". Also Māori, Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian "tapu" or Fijian "tabu".||[ˈkɐpu]||Link|
|Ukulele||A small guitar-like musical instrument that resembles the Portuguese cavaquinho (lit. "jumping flea")||[ʔukuˈlɛlɛ]||Link|
|Wahine||A (Polynesian) woman, a female surfer.||[waːˈɦiːne]||Link|
|Wiki||Fast; used in the "Wiki Wiki Shuttle" and "Wikipedia"||[ˈviti], [ˈwiki]||Link|
|For a list of words relating to Hawaiian words, see the Hawaiian derivations category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Carr, Elizabeth Ball (1973) . Da Kine Talk: From Pidgin to Standard English in Hawaii. Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii. ISBN 0-8248-0209-8.
- Philip Babcock Gove, Noah Webster, ed. (1976). Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language. Merriam G. & C. ISBN 0-87779-103-1.