A catch-all word of good intentions and feelings. Used as a greeting or parting, but also means love, affection, kindness and goodness. In Hawai’i, people do things with aloha: drive, surf, work and live.
Thank you! You will often hear it everywhere!
Help or support. Heard most frequently in the phrase, “Mahalo for your kokua” (thank you for your assistance).
Mauka & Makai
Mauka is towards the mountain; makai is towards the ocean. Often used when giving directions on the islands.
Green sea turtle. These turtles are endangered in Hawai’i and signs on the beach often warn that touching them can result in hefty fines.
Family, but used beyond blood relations to express love and commitment within communities, work places, etc.
Literally, child of the land. Used to describe any long-term resident of the Hawaiian islands.
Balcony or patio.
Done or finished. Used most often in reference to pau hana, or “after work.”
Wahine & Kāne
Women and Men — important for bathroom distinctions.
A necklace made of flowers, shells, leaves, or kukui nuts. Leis are a normal part of Hawai’i life for both men and women. Locals wear them to celebrate special occasions like birthdays or promotions.
The hand gesture of extended thumb and pinkie. It generally symbolizes the “aloha spirit,” or the feeling of gratitude, friendship, understanding, or solidarity. Drivers will often use it on the road when you let them in, etc.
E, Komo Mai
These beautiful words mean “Welcome”!
Feast, often used in celebrations with music, hula, and a huge feast!