In previous centuries, immigrants from all over the world flowed into Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. Over time, the multitude of languages blended together into “Hawaiian pidgin”. To prepare yourself for your Hawaiian vacation, here’s a list of Hawaiian Pidgin words that you may hear while visiting Hawaii!
This well-known word can mean hello, goodbye, affection, graciousness or kindness.
Both the meaning and the pronunciation is “I no care”. This popular pidgin phrase is a popular brand name for tee-shirts around Hawaii.
Brok da mout
This derives from “Broke the Mouth”. This is said when you’ve had food so good you couldn’t stand it.
This means a lot of something. For example, if you go on a boat and you see 100 whales, then the ocean got “choke whales”.
This is a catch-all that can mean nearly anything. If you can’t recall a name or place, simply say “da kine”.
This means to eat, and can also mean great food, when said with a “z” “grindz”.
This means “Once more, again,” as in, let’s do it again!
This is someone of mixed ethnic or racial heritage, especially of Pacific Islander and Asian heritage.
This means, forbidden or keep out. You will see this on signs, so keep a lookout, and don’t trespass. It’s also the social law that of ancient Hawaii, where many things were taboo, or forbidden.
This means the bathroom or restroom.
This is also a word we all know, meaning a feast or party. It’s a great aspect of Hawaiian culture!
This means “thank you” and you will hear it often in Hawaii.
Mauka / makai
You will hear this when receiving directions, telling you to either go towards the mountains or towards the ocean. “Mauka” (mountain side) or “makai” (ocean side).
This means your immediate family members, as well as extended relatives and friends.
This means delicious food.
This means after work, or happy hour drinks. It also can mean when something has finished.
Rahja /rahja dat
This is derived from the military phrase “roger that”, and can also mean “OK”.
This is a hand gesture that can be used as a greeting, a goodbye or to say thank you.
This means “okay”.