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Hawaiian Words and Meanings

Aloha, or hello! Have you ever heard someone use a Hawaiian word or phrase and didn’t know what they were saying? Then you tried to Google it but didn’t know how to spell the word? Or are you planning a trip to Hawai’i and wanted to learn the lingo before arriving? Maybe you just want to expand your vocabulary to impress your Hawaiian friends? Don’t worry, many people are on the same boat at you and we’re here to help! At Buy Hawaiian Lei, we compiled a list of the most commonly used Hawaiian words and phrases used on the isles. As an added bonus, we also included some local slang that often times is referred to as “Hawaiian Pidgen” or “Pidgen” in short.


A hui hou means until the next time we meet.

Aina means the land. Hawaiian culture has always had a focus on taking care of the land.

Akamai means smart.

Aloha means hello, goodbye and love. This is typically used as a greeting.

Brah means brother.

Choke means a lot.

Da Kine means whatchamacallit.

E komo mai means welcome.

Grindz means food.

Hale means house or home.

Hana hou means one more time, encore.

Haole means non Native Hawaiian or Polynesian, especially a Caucasian.

Hau’oli La Hanau is Hawaii’s way of saying Happy Birthday.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou is Hawaii’s way of saying Happy New Year.

Honu means Hawaiian green sea turtle.

Howzit? means how are you?

Hui means hi or hey!

Kama’aina means local.

Kane means man, male.

Kapu means forbidden and/or keep out.

Keiki means child or children.

Kokua means help, assistance.

Lanai means balcony, patio.

Lei means garland or necklace of flowers, leaves, shells or feathers.