Hawaiian Glossary: The Letter U

This glossary does not go from A to Z. The Hawaiian language only has five vowels and twelve consonants, out of which twelve letters, a, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, t, u, and w, are represented here.

This is the glossary chapter for the letter U. 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 browser.


*Words marked with an asterisk (*) are used commonly throughout the islands.

uku means "flea" and lele means "jumping," so literally "jumping flea"-the way the Hawaiians perceived the quick finger movements used on the banjo-like Portuguese folk instrument called a cavaquinho. The ukulele quickly became synonymous with the islands.