Hawaiian Glossary: The Letter M
This glossary does not go from A to Z. The Hawaiian language only has
five vowels and twelve consonants, out of which twelve letters,
u, and w, are
This is the glossary chapter for the letter M. Below, there are links
to various parts of the travel guide, but the best way to return to where you've
just been is to use the "BACK" button or function in your
*Words marked with an asterisk (*) are used commonly throughout the
- thank you. Mahalo nui means "big thanks" or "thank
you very much."
- division. The "Great Mahele" of 1848 changed Hawaii forever when
the traditional common lands were broken up into privately owned plots.
- a favorite eating fish. Often called a dolphin, but a mahimahi is a true
fish, not a cetacean.
- a homosexual; often used derisively like "fag" or "queer"
- a fragrant vine used in traditional lei. It looks ordinary but
- a commoner; a person "belonging" to the aina (land), who
supported the ali'i by fishing and farming and as a warrior
- toward the sea; used by most islanders when giving directions
- dead; deceased
- newcomer; tenderfoot; recent arrival
- the native Hawaiian loincloth. Never worn anymore except at festivals or
- power from the spirit world; innate energy of all things animate or
inanimate; the grace of god. Mana could be passed on from one person to another,
or even stolen. Great care was taken to protect the ali'i from having
their mana defiled. Commoners were required to lie flat on the ground and cover
their faces whenever a great ali'i approached.
Kahuna were often employed in the
regaining or transference of mana.
- free; gratis; extra
- stingy; tight. A Hawaiianized word taken from the name of Don Francisco
Marin, who was instrumental in bringing many fruits and plants to
Hawaii. He was known for never sharing any of the bounty from his substantial
gardens on Vineyard Street in Honolulu.
- toward the mountains; used by most islanders when giving directions
- mountain. Often combined with other words to be more descriptive, such as
Mauna Kea ("White Mountain").
- a song or chant in the Hawaiian oral tradition that records the history and
genealogies of the ali'i. Also see
- the legendary "little people" of Hawaii. Like leprechauns, they
are said to have shunned humans and possess magical powers. Stone walls said to
have been completed in one night are often attributed to them. Some historians
argue that they actually existed and were the aboriginals of Hawaii, inhabiting
the islands before the coming of the Polynesians.
- chicken; fowl
- the ocean; the sea. Many businesses and hotels as well as places have moana
as part of their name.
- ancient tales kept alive by the oral tradition and recited only by day
- a "Mother Hubbard," an ankle-length dress with a high neckline
introduced by the missionaries to cover the nakedness of the Hawaiians. It has
become fashionable attire for almost any occasion in Hawaii.