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.
Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is mana. Mana means “supernatural, or divine power, miraculous power, authority.” We often talk about people who have special mana, or powers. A leo mana is a voice of authority that is obeyed.
Almost everyone knows that a doorway is a puka. But how do you say door? Try pani puka. Pani puka is the thing that closes, blocks, or covers an opening. Puka is the doorway, ke pani puka is the door itself.
Our Hawaiian word for today is kēhau for “dew.” Kēhau is often seen on the grass in the higher elevations, and the word kēhau comes up often in Hawaiian songs and chants. Kēhau is also a popular given name.
Our Hawaiian word for today is a famous Kauaʻi place name, Waiʻaleʻale. It means “rippling, or overflowing water.” Waiʻaleʻale is the highest mountain on Kauaʻi, and boasts an annual rainfall of more than 475 inches a year.
Nui means “big, greatest, grand, important.” As in aliʻi nui. Hale nui would be a big house. And mea nui would be an important thing. Used as an adjective it follows the noun. It can also mean “many or a group.”
As most of you know, hapa means “half,” and nui means “larger.” So hapanui, the “larger half,” means majority. Non-Hawaiians account for more than half of the people of Hawaiʻi, so they are the hapanui.
If you listen to the weather forecasts, you will often hear the name ʻAlenuihāhā, our Hawaiian word for today. It is the name of the channel between Hawaiʻi and Maui, and is often mispronounced. It means “great billows smashing.”
One of the Hawaiian words first learned by most non-Hawaiians is wahine for “woman.” Kāne for “man” and wahine for “woman” are often painted on restroom doors. It also means “lady, wife, female, queen in a deck of cards” and even femininity.
We used to see so many signs that read “kapu” that people joked about Kapu being a Hawaiian who owned all that land. Actually, kapu, means taboo, prohibition, or even sacredness, or forbidden. And yes, on those signs it has come to mean “keep out.”
ʻOno is another of those very frequently used Hawaiian word understood by most people, even those who do not speak the language. ʻOno means delicious. Be sure to start it with that glottal stop, because ono without the glottal stop, is the popular and tasty fish known in English as the wahoo.
Most people know the ipu is a musical instrument made out of a gourd. But ipu is a general word for any type of container such as a dish, mug, calabash, pot, cup, bowl, basin, or even a utensil. Ipu is a very handy word to know.