Hawaiian Slang Words Every Tourist Should Know

Travel Tips — By keithdevey on October 13, 2010 at 1:46 am

The Hawaiian Islands are a melting pot of culture, languages, and ethnicities.  Over the years a conglomeration of words and phrases from Hawaiian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Pacific Island nations have merged into one “local” language called pidgin.  So you don’t look like “one haole tourist”, it is best to study up.

Aloha: hello, goodbye. | “Aloha, welcome to Maui.”

Mahalo: thank you. | “Mahalo!” (said while throwing a shaka hand sign)

Pau: done. |“You guys pau with that table?”

Da kine: what-cha-ma-call-it. | “LocalMotion is located next to the Shell station, and um, ya know, dakine supermarket.”

Ono: delicious. | “That shave ice was so ono.”

Grinds: food. | “Brah, you like go get some grinds?”

Slippahs: footwear, but not sandels, flip-flops, or thongs. | “Try grab my slippahs.”

Haole: Caucasian person.  “I met some haole guy at the post office.”

Howzit: slang for hello or what’s up. “Ho, Howzit!” (followed by Hawaiian handshake)

Shoots: exuberant yes.  “You like go to the beach this afternoon?  Shoots, let’s go!”

Kane/Wahine: Male/female.  (Good for understanding what bathroom to go into.)

As I mentioned above, these are just some of the more commonly used pidgin words, but I will be sure to add future blog posts that dive deeper into the local vernacular .  Shoots, I’m pau. Gotta go grab some grinds.

[Photo source: Velaia (Paris PeKing)]

Tags: Hawaiian Pidgin, Hawaiian Slang words