Glossary Key
adj. = adjective
adv. = adverb
art. = article
conj. = conjunction
(for) = formal
(inf) = informal
(ins) = insulting
interj. = interjection
lit. = literally
mod. = modifier
n. = noun
prep. = preposition
v. = verb

Hawaiʻian is an official language of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. While popular, it still has fewer primary speakers than either English or Japanese. As a secondary language, it is much more common, and is the source for most place names, and much local slang. The glossary below lists several commonly used Hawaiʻian terms.


The symbol in many Hawaiʻian words that looks sort of like an apostrophe is actually an ʻokina. It is considered to be a consonant letter, and represents the phonetic glottal stop, used in many Polynesian languages. With succession in 2017, the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi officially reclaimed the correct spelling of words of Hawaiʻian origin. A quick way to annoy many kamaʻaina (see below), is to misspell or mispronounce such words. Hawaiʻi for example, is pronounced ha-VEYE-ee, with a noticeable glottal stop before the final syllable.

In Unicode, the codepoint for ʻokina is Unicode character U+02BB MODIFIER LETTER TURNED COMMA ( ʻ ) which can be rendered in HTML by the decimal entity ʻ or the hexadecimal form ʻ. Even if properly coded, many archaic computer fonts do not properly render the ʻokina in which case a left single quote or an apostrophe might be used.


Word Type Meaning
a conj. of
aliʻi n. king
aloha! interj. principally hello, hoi, and good-bye; the term also has many other meanings, including love, mercy, compassion, pity, loved one, and so on
bruddah interj. friend (inf; common equivalent of chummer)
e mod. imperative modifier, as in “e hele,” meaning “go ahead,” or “go!”
hale n. house
haole n. white person; foreigner (usually ins.)
hawawa n. man (ins; equivalent to slag)
hele v. to go
hoa n. friend (equivalent to chummer)
hoa paio n. enemy
hoʻokalakupua n. magic
ʻilio or ʻilio wahine n. woman (ins; equivalent to biff or slitch)
ka, ke art. the
kahuna n. priest, sorcerer; expert in any profession
kamaʻaina n. native Hawaiʻian (“land child”)
kanaka n. human or metahuman
kāne n. male, man
kanike interj. common negation equivalent to bulldrek, as in “cut the kanike, hoa.”
keko n. humans (ins.; used by metahumans)
kila n. cyberware (“steel”)
kukae interj. common curse word, equivalent to drek
lanai n. porch, balcony, or veranda
leeward adv. western (dry) side of an island
ma conj. at
mahalo interj. thank you
mai mod. negative imperative, meaning “don’t,” as in “mai hele,” or “don’t go.”
makai adv. toward the sea
make v. to kill
make loa v. to die
mauka adv. inland
mea make n. weapon
naheka n. snake
niwalikanaka n. elf (ins)
ola v. to exist; to be alive
pe-hia ʻoe? “how are you?”
pilikua n. troll (lit. large strapping fellow, country person)
pu n. gun
ule n. common insult, equivalent to pud
wahine n. woman
wikanikanaka n. ork. (lit. strong hard human)
wiwikane n. elf. (lit. slender man)
wikiwiki adj. speedy, fast, swift. (also the name of the airport shuttle service)
windward adv. eastern (wet) side of an island

Primary sourceEdit

  • Paradise Lost (p.73–74) ©1994 FASA Corporation. Authors: Tom Wong & Nigel Findley

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