There are just some Hawaiian words visitors need to know to make a Hawaii vacation easier. The following seven Hawaiian words are frequently seen and commonly used in daily communication, restaurant menus, and signs throughout all of the islands.
1. Aloha (Ah-Low-Ha) - Commonly known as meaning both hello and goodbye, Aloha is also about attitude, love, respect, patience, and integrity. To have Aloha is to lead by example by practicing good behavior, kindness, and treating people like you would want to be treated.
2. Kama'aina (Ka-Ma-I-Nah) - Means a local, someone living in Hawaii. You will often see "Kama'aina discounts" offered around the island. This means it's for locals only.
3. Ono (Oh-No) - Means "delicious" in Hawaii. If you see something being advertised as "ono" you should probably go ahead and try it. It's probably really good. It is also a type of fish, known as a "wahoo" in other places around the world (which is a white meat fish that also happens to be delicious).
4. Haole (How-Lee) - Google defines this as "a person that is not a native Hawaiian, especially a white person." Don't be offended if you are referred to as a haole by a local, it's a commonly used term here in the islands, similar to "white boy," or something similar. Haoles are everywhere in Hawaii, hang out with locals, and even get elected as Governor.
5. Lanai (Lah-Nye) - A porch or balcony. And yes, this is also the name of one of the Hawaiian islands.
6. Mahalo (Ma-Hall-O) - Means "thank you" with Aloha.
7. Pau (Pow) - Means "done" or "finished." Locals will commonly say, "You pau?" meaning, "Are you all done with that?"
Sound Like a Local (or Just Be a Little Less Confused)
These seven words are a little introduction to the beautiful Hawaiian language. As long as you pronounce them correctly, knowing the meaning of these words will help you sound more like a local, communicate a little better - and sound a little less like a tourist. If you forget how to pronounce them when the time comes to use them, just put on a big smile, give it a try, and you'll be fine.