Wai means “water.” Wai is a very important thing to Hawaiians, and for that reason is included in many names – both place names, such as Waimānalo, Waikīkī, and Waiehu. And in many family and given names. Wai can be used for any type of liquid except sea water.
Puaʻa means “pig, swine, hog, pork.” And although it is a commonly used Hawaiian word, even in English conversation, it is often mispronounced. Say puaʻa as in kamapuaʻa. Puʻa is also another pronunciation you might hear, especially among native speakers.
Wai wai means “goods, property, assets, valuables, value, worth, wealth.” We most often hear wai wai to mean “rich, wealth, or value,” as in the popular song “Iesū me ke kanaka wai wai,” – Jesus and the Rich Man – written by Johnny Almeida.
Paʻa is a very commonly used word that can mean “firm, solid, tight, adhering, durable, fast, fixed, stuck, secure, closed,” and so much more. Paʻa ā paʻa means held fast, so hoʻo paʻa means to make fast, to bind.
Kāne is the Hawaiian word for “man.” You see this often in names like Kāneʻohe, which means “bamboo man,” and in many family names as well. It is also used for “male, husband, male sweetheart, and masculine.”
Most people who live in Hawaiʻi know what a maile lei is, but it is one of those Hawaiian words that is all too often mispronounced. Maile is a native twining shrub with shiny, fragrant leaves, used for decorations and lei, especially on important occasions. Maile is pronounced “mai-lei,” not to be confused with the Leeward Oʻahu community called Māʻili.
ʻAʻole means “no.” ʻAʻole is an interjection which also means “not, never,” and you may hear it pronounced ʻaʻale. You will commonly hear it even in English conversation when people say - ʻaʻole pilikia – no trouble.
Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is the name of our state, Hawaiʻi. It is pronounced either as “Hawaiʻi” or “Havaiʻi.” Yes, either is okay. Language experts say you can pronounce it with a “w” or a “v” if that sound follows an “a.”
Puakō is the name of a place on the Big Island, a beautiful place on the Kohala Coast where some 3,000 petroglyphs have been found. It means sugar cane blossom. “Pua”is blossom and the modifier “kō” means sugar cane.
Our Hawaiian word for today, hāpai, is one most people in Hawaiʻi already know and use, even in English conversation. It means to carry, and is most often used to describe a woman who is expecting a baby. It also means “to lift, raise, hoist, hold up, or support.”
Although it is often mispronounced, muʻumuʻu is one of the best known of Hawaiian words. It means “cut off, shortened,” and is the name so often given to a large fitting gown, because the yoke was often missing, and the sleeves short. It's first meaning, however, is “amputated, maimed.”
Aupuni means “government,” and can be modified to tell what kind of government we are talking about. For example, aupuni peke lala is the federal government, and aupuni koloniala is the colonial government.