One of the best known Hawaiian words is hula, meaning to dance. Hula is a very generic term for dance. There are many specific types of hula. Don't confuse hula with hulahula, the word you learned for ballroom dancing, and don't say, "hula dancing" – that's redundant.
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.
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.
Kula has a number of meanings including: "plain, field, or open pasture." It also means "a source" and it is Hawaiian for the English word "gold." But perhaps the best known usage in English is to mean "school." Say it with a modifier, such as kula kiʻe kiʻe, a high school.
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.
Another popular Hawaiian place name that is often mispronounced is Nānākuli. It has stresses on both the first and second syllables. It is that beautiful place on leeward Oʻahu and it means “look” (Nānā) “at me” (kuli).