Words to Know Before Traveling to Hawaii

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Travel to Hawaii is expected to get busier in the coming months after the state dropped its indoor mask mandate and Safe Travels Hawaii program for trans-Pacific domestic travelers. Visitors should keep in mind that Hawaii is more than just sandy beaches and tourist attractions: it’s a place extremely rich in different cultures and languages.

Hawaiian Pidgin, or Hawaiian Creole English, is a unique dialect with its own grammar and sound system that you won’t find anywhere else. While pidgin borrows from various languages, Native Hawaiians, Chinese, and Portuguese have had the most influence since the early plantation days.

Here’s a list of Hawaiian slang and pidgin expressions you can learn before your next trip.


  • A term that applies to any woman older than you. You don’t need to be related.
  • Example: “Tanks fo da food, aunty.”


  • “Agreed.” Generally used when something good is happening or going well.
  • Example: “I just got a raise today! Aurit!


  • A casual way to refer to someone, such as “brother” or “brother”.
  • Example: “Hey brah, do you like going to the beach?”

broken mouth

  • It’s something you say when you eat something delicious.
  • Example: “This punch is so ‘ono, he broke his mouth.”

Chee hoo

  • A way to show that you are excited or happy for someone or something.
  • Example: “They just won a game! Chee-hoo!”

chicken skin

  • “Goose bumps” or “chills”.
  • Example: “Remember that touchdown? Chicken skin moment, yeah?


  • “A lot” or “a lot”.
  • Example: “So, are you catching fish today? “Oh yes. Smother, brah.

wireless coconut

  • It’s as if someone said they heard it through the vineyard or through word of mouth.
  • Example: “So I heard through a coconut radio that you moved to Kaneohe…”

Da Kine

  • It refers to anything, especially when you can’t remember the name.
  • Example: “Do you remember when she was dating Da kine?”


  • “That’s the reason.”
  • Example: “You play games all the time. That’s why you always stay tired.


  • “Fart.”
  • Example: “Ho brah, what is that smell? Were you here?”


  • “Food.”
  • Example: “You can find local kine grindz on the north coast.”


  • Something that is messy, broken, needs to be fixed.
  • Example: “My hair was all hamajang after the party.”

Hanabata Days

  • “Days of Childhood.”
  • Example: “We’ve been best friends since the days of hanabata.”

Hana Hou

  • “Do it again” or “again” – often shouted by the audience at the end of a performance.
  • Example: “This band was amazing! Hanahoo!”


  • Common greeting that combines “how are you” into one word.
  • Example: “How are you, aunt?”


  • A hassle or something you find annoying.
  • Example: “I don’t want to get a new license. It’s so silly.

If possible, can. If not, no.

  • “If I can, I can. If I can’t, then I can’t.
  • Example: “Hey brah, are you coming to my party tonight? I know you’re working late, but if you can, you can.


  • What you call someone or something that is irritating.
  • Example: “Can you tell my sister to stop calling me?” She is so irraz!


  • “Something bad.”
  • Example: “I don’t want to order this anymore. Junk, da kine.

The date

  • Combine the words “like” and “that”.
  • Example: “She’s just the dat. Carefree.”

Like beef?

  • It’s not about asking someone if they really want food. It’s asking if they want to fight.
  • Example: “Hey, sis, do you like beef? Kay’s lair.


  • “Not smart.”
  • Example: “This boy is so funny when he pranked a teacher on the phone. Now he is in custody.

Mo’ bettah

  • “Better.”
  • Example: “Go park in the shade. It’s mo’ bettah ova dere.

no moa

  • “More” or “nothing”.
  • Example: “Do you have any poke left?” “No moa, sorry brah.”


  • Hawaiian word for “delicious”.
  • Example: “The food at Duke is so ʻono.”


  • Marijuana.
  • Example: “My sister offered me pakalōlō, but I said no.”


  • “Done” or “done”.
  • Example: “I am pau ova here. Let’s have some grindz.


  • “Roger” or “I understand”.
  • Example: “Let’s meet at your mother’s house for dinner. “Rajah that’s it.”


  • Urine or pee.
  • Example: “Go shishi before the show.”


  • “OK, I understand.”
  • Example: “Do you like to surf this weekend? The shooter’s den! »


  • Slippers, flip flops or sandals.
  • Example: “Are you really going hiking in slippahs?”

little kine

  • “Just a little.”
  • Example: “She is small kine irraz, but I like her.”

stinky eye

  • A dirty look.
  • Example: “I winked at him when he cut me off. »


  • “Thank you.”
  • Example: “Tanks fo da grindz!”

talk about history

  • Catch up, tell stories or chat with friends.
  • Example: “Why are you coming home late?” “Jesse and I talk history all night.”

In addition to learning pidgin, there are common Hawaiian words used by residents, local businesses, and even tour operators that will be helpful to know before your visit.

Being a tourist also means paying attention to the place you are visiting and the people who live there. Rules and courtesy still apply while vacationing in Hawaii. Check out KHON’s 2 list of 10 things not to do when visiting the islands.

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