Eight Hawaiian Words You Need To Know

There are many Hawaiian words and slang that you could learn before you go on vacation, and you might find out that you are using them the wrong way.

There are many Hawaiian words and slang terms that you could learn before you go on vacation, and you might find out that you are using them the wrong way. There are people who want to know the lingo when they get to Hawaii, and you could avoid using these words in the wrong situations.

1. Aloha

Aloha means hello and goodbye. It is a beautiful term that is used when you get off the airplane, and it might be used when you leave the hotel or the island.

2. Pau

Pau means done or finished, but it is something like an exclamation that people use when they are finished with something. You do not really use it when asking someone if they finished something. They holler the word to you because they finished.

3. Shoots

Shoots is the euphemism that you use instead of using profanity. People often say shoot, and shoots has been extended because people on the beaches used it and it caught on. Shoots is something that you could teach your kids, and you might end up using it yourself when you get back home.

4. Haole

Haole means colonizer. It is something of a pejorative term that is used by Hawaiians to describe white people. When they run across white people who are rude or mean, they might call those travelers haole. You are not really in a place to use this term yourself, and you must remember that the people of Hawaii were invaded and they are very protective of their land, their integrity, and their heritage.

5. Kama Aina

Kama Aina is a name used for people who are of Native American descent. This is not exclusive to Hawaiians, and it is a term that natives often use to point out someone else they see who is of native descent. You might get a Kama Aina discount if you are a native at many shops around the area, and you might ask for that discount if you are a native. It is also something that you might use when you want to explain to a native that you have a percentage of native blood.

6. Mahalo

Mahalo is an exclamation. It is a word that means thank you, but it is a thank you that you say with a lot of conviction. You could holler this out to people that you are really thankful for, and it has been used in American media to bring attention to Hawaiian culture. You are welcome to use this word when in Hawaii, and you will know that Hawaiians really appreciate you when they use it.

7. Makai

Makai means seaward or by the sea. You could use the term makai when you want to by a house that is near the water, or you could ask for a hotel room that is makai. You are free to use this word if you are asking for directions on an island, or you might use the term because you are describing a place where you just were.

8. Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka is a thing to say to everyone you want to wish a Merry Christmas to. It is a song that was made popular by Bing Crosby and the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. You might remember the song, and you should use the term in Hawaii if you go there over the holidays. The islanders do use it, and they often celebrate Christmas because many of them are converts to Christianity or another western religion.


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