Hawaiian Words and Meanings

Hawaiian Words

If you are walking along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki you may notice some Hawaiian Words and Meanings on the sidewalk. It is a fun Scavenger Hunt to look for these Hawaiian Words between stops at the Surf Shops, Restaurants and Hawaii ABC Stores!

ALOHA greetings, regards, kindness, compassion, affection, love

Hawaiian Words and Meaning Aloha


MALIHINI foreigner, newcomer, guest, company

Hawaiian Words Malihini


KULEANA responsibility, concern, right, privilege

Hawaiian Words and Meaning


KAMA’AINA native-born

Hawaiian Words and Meaning


PAU finished, ended

MAUKA inland, towards the mountain

MAHALO thanks, gratitude

WAIKIKI spouting water

‘OPALA trash, rubbish

‘AINA land, earth


WAHINE woman

HALE house

HONOLULU sheltered bay

KANE man

MAKAI towards the sea

KEIKI child, offspring


The Hawaiian alphabet contains 12 letters A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W and the ‘okina which is a glottal stop ‘.

All Hawaiian words end in a vowel and two consonants never appear next to each other.


Some additional words that may come in handy on your Hawaii Vacation include:

E Komo Mai  Welcome!

Hana hou Encore, do it again. (This is also the name of Hawaiian Airlines Magazine)

Alii Chief  (Check out the Chief of Chief’s Luau)

Honu A turtle (Swim with Honu on Hawaii Snorkel Tours)

Hula Hawaiian dance (Learn the Hula at a Hawaii Luau)

Kahuna  Expert, usually refers to a priest, minister, or person held in esteem.

Lei  A necklace of flowers, shells or kukui nuts (Start your Hawaii Vacation with a Lei Greeting)

Luau  Hawaiian feast or party (Attend a Luau on your Hawaii Vacation)

Ohana  Family, relative

Ono Used to describe delicious food (Check out my list of Top 10 Hawaiian Foods)

Paniolo  Hawaiian cowboy

Poi Food made from the Taro root. A staple of the Hawaiian diet.

Pupus Snacks or appetizers

Tutu  Affectionate word for a grandparent

Wikiwiki  Speedy or fast

A Hui Hou  Goodbye, until we meet again


I hope these Hawaiian Words and Hawaiian Phrases will help you out on your Hawaii Vacation! If you have any useful Hawaiian Words and Phrases to share please leave them in the comments below!




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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been blogging about the best Hawaii Activities for over 7 years. She loves sharing the Aloha Spirit.
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