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.
Since we don’t often use north, south, east, and west in giving directions in Hawaiʻi, hikina might be a new word to you. It means “east,” and when capitalized it can also mean the “Orient.” Ka Hikina means the East.
Uē means to cry, weep, lament, or to mourn. You might hear a mother say, “Mai ʻue” – don't cry – or you might use it to discuss the reactions of the Hawaiians to the loss of their Queen: ʻue nakanaka – the people weep.
Pau is one of the most commonly used, and misused, of Hawaiian words. Pau kahana – the work is finished. Yes, pau means finished, ended, all done, final, even consumed and destroyed. Work is finished, so you can say “pau kahana.” But donʻt say “I'm pau,” that would mean you are dead or finished. And don't ask, “Are you pau?”
Especially during pageants and parades, we see flowers that have been designated as the island flower for each major island. The kaunaʻoa of Lanaʻi is such a flower. It is the native daughter, a parasitic vine belonging to the Morning Glory family.
Another very commonly used Hawaiian word is nani. Nani means beautiful. It is often used in names as in pua nani for “beautiful flower.” Nani nō ʻoe – you are beautiful – is a nice expression we hope you hear everyday.
Yesterday we told you about mauka, a direction meaning “at the upland.” Today's Hawaiian Word of the Day is makai, meaning “at the sea” the opposite direction of mauka. It is actually two words: ma meaning “at” and kai meaning “sea.”
One of the first words new residents in Hawaiʻi learn is mauka, meaning inland or upland. It is one of the most commonly used Hawaiian terms, since we don't give directions as many other folks do. It is actually two words: ma meaning “at,” and uka for “upland.”
We often hear kakahiaka as part of aloha kakahiaka, a greeting early in the day. And most know it means morning. The popular greeting came in to use only after the arrival of the poʻe haole, as a translation for “good morning.”
Our Hawaiian Word for today is a beautiful Oʻahu place name, Kawaiahaʻo. And it means the water used by Haʻo. Some say Haʻo was a chief. As most of you know, it is a name for the most famous church on the island, often called the Westminster of the Pacific.
Our Hawaiian Word for today is a beautiful Oʻahu place name, Kaʻaʻawa. It is often used as an example of a Hawaiian word with so many vowels in a row. But if you spell and pronounce it correctly, you will note that every vowel is separated by a consonant sound, the glottal stop or ʻokina. And it means the wrasse fish.
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.
Hale is a word we all use in Hawaiʻi whether we speak Hawaiian or not. And hale, meaning house or building, is our Hawaiian Word of the Day. There are many kinds of hale from the hale ʻaina, or restaurant, to the hale pule, or church.
Hema means left or left side. When you watch a marching group pass by, you will often hear, “hema, hema, hema, ʻākau hema,” or “left, left, left, right, left.” It also means “south,” as in Kona hema – south Kona.
Ala, meaning path or way, is used in so many of our street names, that is pretty well known, and most people know that it is a redundancy to say “Ala Wai Boulevard” or “Ala Moana Boulevard.” Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is alanui, the natural extension of ala. It means a big path, or a big way, a highway or a freeway.