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.
Our Hawaiian word for today is koʻo for “support.” Koʻo has many meanings and many uses, but most commonly is used to describe a brace or a prop, a helper, something used to help support something else – even a cane become a koʻo koʻo.
Wela means hot. You'll hear both wela (well-a) or wela (vel-a) as correct pronunciations, depending on the sound it follows. Wela means hot, burned, heat, temperature, but can also mean “lust” or “passion” or “feeling lust.” Wela wela is “doubly hot.”
On the mainland, folks believe that if the groundhog comes out on February 2 and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. Our Hawaiian word for today is aka, for shadow. You'll see more shadows than groundhogs in Hawaiʻi!
Huakaʻi is Hawaiian for trip, voyage, journey, mission, procession, even a parade. It doesn't have to be a long voyage or flight. A trip to Maui is a huakaʻi, just as a trip to Japan is a huakaʻi. Next time you plan a trip, call it a huakaʻi.
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.”