Readers should keep in mind that Hawaiian terms describe categories that sometimes
correspond to multiple categories in En glish. It is best not to think of multiple glosses,
therefore, as a menu of choices, but rather to try to imagine all of them as a single cate-
gory (see Basham, “Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi and Peoplehood”). Most of the glosses here are
drawn from the Pukui and Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary (1986), and I have put quotation
marks around those entries. Other glosses have been developed as a result of my own
and others’ research. Plurals such as Kānaka and wāhine refer to countable numbers;
the singular is used when referring to every thing in that category.
Words that begin with the ʻokina (ʻ) appear at the end.
ahupuaʻa. “Land division usually extending from the uplands to the sea, so called
because the boundary was marked by a heap (ahu) of stones surmounted by an
image of a pig (puaʻa), or because a pig or other tribute was laid on the altar as tax
to the chief.”
aikāne. Friend or lover of the same sex.
aliʻi. Of the ruling segment of society. Usually translated as chief.
aliʻi nui. Highest ranking aliʻi; district, island, and archipelago rulers.
aloha ʻāina. Love for the land; a pro- Kanaka, pro- independence politics; individual
who practices aloha ʻāina.
ao. Forms the complementary pair with pō. The realm of human life; daylight; the
world; clouds.
aupuni. “Government, kingdom, dominion, nation, people under a ruler; national.”
hala. “The pandanus or screw pine (Pandanus odoratissimus), native from
southern Asia east to Hawaiʻi, growing at low altitudes, both cultivated and
wild. . . . Many uses: leaves (lau hala) for mats, baskets, hats; the yellow to red
fruit sections for leis, brushes; male flowers to scent tapa, their leaflike bracts to
plait mats.”
hānai. Adopt; to feed; to raise for an aliʻi nui. To be so adopted or raised. Such a
parent or child.
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