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13 Jan 2023
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Hawaiian Culture

Common Hawaiian Phrases and Words for Visitors 

Trying to learn phrases and words when traveling abroad in your chosen destination’s language is common. However, did you know that Hawaii is the only US State to have two official languages?  The flight from the Mainland to the islands is the perfect time to brush up on common Hawaiian words, phrases, and slang. Downtime at your rental from Hawaii Life Vacations is also a great time to continue practicing! Keep reading to learn more about some basic words and phrases that all visitors will surely encounter during their stay. 

A Checklist of Basic Words and Phrases to Know

Taking the time to learn Hawaiian words and phrases is an easy way to show respect for the culture and people of this region. We’ve put together a list of words and phrases often used and their meaning

  • If you hear someone say Mahalo, they are saying “thank you” and showing gratitude or respect.

  • On the other hand, if someone says ‘A‘ole pilikia, they are saying, “you’re welcome.”

  • Aloha, often used as a greeting or salutation, can be used to say hello or goodbye. 

  • E como mai means welcome or come on in. You can use this phrase to invite people to come into your business or your home. Many businesses have this phrase above their door. 

  • The termkeiki means child or offspring.

  • Da kine is slang. It is a phrase used when referencing something or someone and tends to mean “that kind.”

  • Pau hana means the time after work. It is considered a time for relaxation, informal socializing with friends and family (Ohana), and enjoyment. When visiting Hawaii, you will see special offers in bars and restaurants that are like Happy Hour or Pau Hana specials. 

  • You will read the term Pupu on many of the restaurant menus you see in Hawaii, it means an appetizer. A plate of appetizers is called a Pupu platter!

  • If you are trying to describe what side of the island you’re on, you might use leeward, the south and/or west sides, and windward, the north and/or east sides.

  • When out to eat, use the word ‘ono to say your meal was delicious or tasty.

  • When referring to a balcony, patio, or porch, it’s common to use lānai.

  • In Hawaiian, Mauka means toward the mountain, and Makai means toward the ocean.

Another fantastic way to learn even more words is by checking out Hawai’i Public Radio’s Hawaiian Word of the Day.

Expand Your Horizons with a Hawaii Getaway

The best way to familiarize yourself with common Hawaiian phrases and words is by practicing them. Try using them in conversation while exploring local businesses or attractions found near your Hawaii Life Vacations rental. 

Our inventory of incredible rentals includes homes on four phenomenal islands. Every island is unique. No matter which one you decide to visit, there are countless ways to learn about Hawaiian culture and history. Call 855-447-3685 to learn more about booking your stay with us.