5 Common Hawaiian Words

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Did you know that Hawaii is the only state that officially recognizes two languages? While on vacation or visiting Hawaii you may be interested in learning more about this unique and beautiful language.  So, to get you started we’ve put together a list of the 5 common Hawaiian words you are likely to hear while visiting the islands.

This list won’t make you fluent in the language, but it was at least give you someplace to start with Hawaiian.  Here are the words and definitions:


Commonly used as a greeting and farewell, both hello and goodbye. It is also synonymous with love and good feelings. The famous Hawaiian surfer and U.S. Olympian Duke Kahanmoku said it best, “In Hawaii we greet friends, loved ones, and strangers with Aloha, which means with love.


This word means “thank you”.  If you want to be more polite, then you can say Mahalo nui loa which means “thank you very much”.


When something is ono it is “delicious”.  Since Hawaii is a melting post of delicious food (or ono grinds, in Hawaiian pidgin), be sure to look for restaurants that advertise their food as “ono”.  You’re sure to have an authentic local meal!

Dolphins and You - Taro Bun Bugers - And You Creations
They’re definitely getting some ono food with those Taro Bun Burgers!


There is no true English translation of pono. Pono is more of a multifaceted idea and includes ideas of righteousness, harmony, excellence, balance, positivity, and living a life full of these ideals. The Hawaii state motto cites pono: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono“, meaning “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.


Ohana means family,  It also describes close friends and communities.  It is a term that describes a tight knit group that is full of aloha for one another.

At And You Creations we consider our guests on our tours as part of our ohana. To show our aloha to our customers we include a group family photo after tours to commemorate our times together, and to celebrate the new members of our ohana.

A group picture with members of our ohana!


We’d love to have you join us on one of our tours.  Whether you are swimming with dolphins on Dolphins and You, hiking the Manoa Falls trail with Nature and You, or getting your fill of history, culture and ono food on Island and You, we would be honored to share the beauty of Hawaii with you.

Click here to learn more about our tours.

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