Talk Like a Local

An Introduction to Pidgin and Hawaiian Slang

Pidgin is the unofficial language of Hawaii, and is commonly used as the standard means of communication by residents everywhere. Hawaiian Pidgin’s origins and background has been influenced by many languages including: Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, and Cantonese. Pidgin is an accurate and interesting depiction of Hawaii’s regional character and cultural diversity.

Take a look at some of the most commonly used words and phrases, and learn to talk like a local!

Aloha (ah-LOW-hah)- Aloha has numerous meanings, but the most common way Aloha is used is as a greeting or farewell.

A Hui Hou (AH-HOO-ee-HOH)- Goodbye, take care, until we meet again.

E Komo Mai (E-COH-mo MY)- Welcome.

Mahalo (Ma-HA-low)- Thank you, expression of gratitude.

Howzit (HOW-zit)- “How are you?”

Lua (LOO-ah)- Restroom.

No Ka Oi (No-ka-OY)- “is the best”

Keiki (KAY-kee)- Child.

Wahine (WAH-hee-NAY)- Woman, girl.

Kama’aina (Kah-mah-EYE-nah)- “Child of the land.” A long time resident of Hawaii.

Lanai (Lah-NYE)- Patio.

Slippah (SLEE-pah)- Thong sandals, slipper.

Pupu (Poo-poo)- Appetizer.

Shaka (Shah-KAH)- Otherwise known as “Hang Loose” A common Hawaiian hand gesture used to express hello, thank you, or “all right!”

Haole (HOW-lay)- A non-derogatory word to describe a Caucasian person.

Ohana (Oh-HAH-nah)- Family, both blood related and non-related.

Ono (OH-no)- Delicious.

Grinds– Food.

Da Kine– A commonly used versatile catchphrase with endless meanings, used to describe or reference just about anything.

Brah, Bruddah, Braddah (Masculine)- Brother, friend, used to address someone.

Sistah (Feminine)- Sister, friend, used to address someone.

Talk story– Chat, casual conversation.

Puka (poo-KAH)-  Hole.

Kai– Ocean.


Have a question? Ask one of our Maui Specialists!