Hapa is most often used in English conversation to describe something that is mixed or part of something. And although, it comes from the English word “half,” it means portion or part. We hear hapa used in hapa Hawaiʻi for part Hawaiian, or hapa haole for part foreign.
Another beautiful Hawaiian name that is so often mispronounced is Kalanianaʻole and it means “the chief without measure.” It is a name given to so many prominent landmarks and the one that seems to give a lot of trouble to people in the broadcast media.
Iulai is the Hawaiian name for the month of July, the seventh month of the modern calendar. Yes, Iulai is a borrowed word from English. In fact, all of the names of the months of the calendar we now use are borrowed. Since the Hawaiian calendar of months did not coincide with that of the Europeans.
Nūpepa is another Hawaiian word that comes from the English word newspaper. Did you know that there have been more than fifty Hawaiian language newspapers published in the Islands? Think about that the next time you read your morning nūpepa.
Hōkū means "star," and is often used in names such as Hōkūlea, the star of gladness, or Na Hōkū, the local recording industry awards program. Be sure to include the stresses, for it takes on a different meaning if you do not.
Although kōlea has many meanings, the most common perhaps is as the Hawaiian name of the Pacific Golden Plover - a bird that arrives in Hawaii in August or September, and returns to the Arctic in April or May.
We hear the word tūtū used so often, but many of us not know that kūkū is another perhaps more traditional pronunciation for today's Hawaiian word. It means "granny, grandma, grandpa," or any relative or close friend of your grandparents' generation. You can say kūkū kane for grandfather, or kūkū wahine for grandmother, but kūkū by itself will always suffice.
Hiapo means "first born." It is used often in Hawaiian to describe the eldest child, the first born. Like many cultures, there is a special significance attached to being the first born, or hiapo, in a Hawaiian family.
Today’s Hawaiian word of the day is one of the most commonly used of Hawaiian words, Lani. It means "sky, heaven, or heavenly," and can also mean "spiritual." Lani is part of many proper names, such as Leilani for “heavenly lei.”
Akamai, for smart, is one of the first Hawaiian words many people learn. It also means "clever, expert, skillful." If you see someone doing something very clever, it's okay to say Akamai ʻoe or you're very smart.
Papaheʻenalu. Well Papa can mean a "board or almost any kind of flat surface." Adding heʻenalu to it makes it a surfboard. Heʻe means "to slide or surf," and nalu means "wave." Put it all together and you get a surfboard.
Our Hawaiian word for today is a well-known place name on Kauaʻi, Poʻipū. It is often mispronounced because people see the first three letters as a group and pronounce it as they would poi. It means crashing, as in wave action.
If you barbecue a lot, you probably already know today's word of the day. Pūlehu means to broil. Although it most correctly means broiling as you would sweet potatoes, breadfruit or bananas placed on hot embers. We often used pūlehu to describe meat that has been broiled.
Pua is a very well known and often used Hawaiian word. In common usage it means: flower, blossom, even the tassel and stem of sugar cane. It means to bloom, and among its many other meanings is child, descendant, offspring.
Mākaʻi means policeman, also means to police or inspect. Since all of our policemen speak English, you won’t need to ask for one in Hawaiian. But it will impress many of them if you can call them a mākaʻi.
Akua has many meanings, but none more common in today's Hawaiian than God. In Hawaiian, there are many different kinds of gods, and akua can mean goddess, spirit, ghost, devil, image, idol, divine, even a corpse.
Leo means voice, tone, tune, melody, sound, command, and more. It is most often used today to mean voice and is heard often in describing singers, such as the leo nahenahe, or as the name of the private pre-school Punanaleo, “the voice nest.”