5 Must-Know Hawaiian Sayings & Words

Hula dance class on a Princess ship.

One of the best ways to acquaint yourself with Hawaii and its people is to research its language and embrace its culture. The Hawaiian language comprises traditional Hawaiian words and other elements representative of the state's diverse culture. Hawaiian words carry weight, and some have multiple meanings. To properly use a Hawaiian word or saying, you must first understand its meaning, value, and context.

Cruise excursions offer countless opportunities to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture. Learning a little about the language with these five Hawaiian sayings will give you another level or appreciation for Tongan drumming, the authentic barbecue buffet at the Polynesian Cultural Centerduring an excursion to Grove Farm, and Koloa rum tasting during an excursion in Kauai.

Here are just five of the many Hawaiian sayings worth learning before your Hawaii cruise:

  1. Aloha

    Aloha (pronounced ah-LOH-hah) is probably the most widely recognized Hawaiian word. More than just a greeting, aloha is a life philosophy that can be used to describe goodness, love, kindness, and affection.

    You can experience the spirit of aloha just by immersing yourself in the incomparable beauty you'll find on Hawaii cruise excursions. While on a Kilauea Volcano Bike Adventure tour around the rim of a crater in Hawaii's National Volcano Park or on a Na Pali Cruise & Snorkel tour through a tranquil Hawaiian lagoon, you'll discover what aloha means to you.

  2. Mahalo

    Pronounced ma-HAH-loh, you'll often find this word on trash cans. Don't be deceived: It's actually used to express both thanks and admiration. It is most commonly interchanged with the phrase "thank you."

    While onboard your Hawaii cruise, you can practice saying "mahalo" by using it to express gratitude for a fresh, Hawaii-inspired dish. When you start feeling confident, take your language skills to Maui, where you can experience breathtaking Haleakala crater and a gorgeous lavender farm, then sample locally distilled spirits and gourmet cheeses before lunch — all on an excursion with Princess Cruises.

  3. Kamaaina

    Kamaaina (pronounced KAH-mah-AYE-neh), which translates to "child of the land," is used to describe people who have lived on the islands a very long time. You might hear this Hawaiian saying used in reference to discounts that are specifically available to locals.

    On an excursion along the Pali Coast, you can come to love and be awed by Hawaii's natural beauty. Then you can confidently talk to the kamaaina you encounter about the love you share for this island paradise.

  4. Keiki/Wahine/Kane

    Very simply, a keiki(KAY-key) is a child, a wahine (wah-HE-neh) is a woman, and a kane(KAH-neh) is a man. Be aware of these Hawaiian words for restroom distinctions.

    If you want to bring home a memento for anyone you love — be they a wahine, kane, or keiki — check out the Ala Moana Shopping Center after exploring Honolulu at the end of a USS Arizona & Honolulu City Tour excursion.

  5. Da Kine

    Da kine(duh-KYNE) can be used in place of just about anything for which you don't have a specific word. It can be challenging to follow the conversation if it is used, but for the most part, you can infer what it means. Use da kine as you would a word like "thing" or "watchamacallit" in a sentence. Try using it in conversation while you're mingling with locals on a Waikiki beach break excursion.