Pidgin, the language of the islands
What is Hawaiian pidgin? If you’ve never been to Hawaii before, your ears might perk up when you overhear locals speaking at a bbq at the beach. It sounds familiar to you, but you have no idea what they’re saying. That, is Hawaiian Pidgin.
Hawaiian Pidgin, like other pidgin or creole languages, is a mixture of the pieces of several different languages that have been brought together to form a new language. It’s roots are on the sugarcane plantations of 19th century Hawaii where Hawaiian, Portuguese, English, Cantonese, Japanese and other speakers intermingled and birthed this new language.
Check out the video to see it in action and farther below or common words & phrases and their translations
Check out the video for Pidgin in action
Definitions & Translations
Sentence: “That boy is akamai, he know everyting”
Definition: Aloha has many uses in the Hawaiian language. It’s used when both greeting and parting with someone, but also has a more wide-ranging meaning. The word is also used to mean love, fellowship and general spirit of kindness that emanates from the islands.
Sentence: “Spread da aloha braddah!”
Definition: Aina is the word for land in Hawaiian. Sometimes with spiritual connotations
Sentence: “Protect da ‘aina!”
Definition: An older woman. No need to be blood family.
Definition: Crazy. Stupid. Cuckoo.
Sentence: Dat braddah is bakatare!
Definition: Box lunch, plate lunch. Often some mixture of katsu chicken, BBQ pork or Kalbi beef with white rice and possibly a few other sides like mac salad.
Definition: Brother, friend. Or just a term to address a stranger with.
Broke da mouth
Definition: Very delicious food
Sentence: Da ribs ovah there bra? Broke da mouth!
Definition: Later. Or else
Definition: Guy, friend. Or alternatively an annoying person, a pest.
Can / No Can
Definition: Used in the affirmative and negative respectively. Can be used in many ways.
“Eh braddah, we cruizin’ tonight?”
Definition: Of high quality.
Sentence: “Dat ride is cherry”
Definition: A lot. Plentiful.
Sentence: “Got choke drinks ready for tonight brah.”
Definition: To steal.
Da Kine: da KINE
Definition: To steal.
Sentence: “You know da kine!”
Hana Hou: ha·na HO
Definition: Encore. One more time. Yell it at a concert.
Sentence: “Hana hou! Hana hou! Hana hou!”
Definition: Someone of Caucasian descent
Sentence: “There’s always choke haoles in Waikiki.”
Hawaiian Time, Island Time
Definition: An excuse when someone’s late. They’re on Hawaiian time.
Sentence: “Where’s Steve at, he was supposed to be here 15 minutes ago”
“He’s on Hawaiian time”
High Maka Maka
Definition: Stuck up. Pretentius.
Sentence: “Dat girl ova there tink she all dat, she high maka maka brah.”
Definition: A greeting.
Sentence: “Howzit brah.”
Definition: 1. Rigged
Definition: Traditionally means Native Hawaiians, literally translates to “people of the land”. Now can refer to any resident that has been living in Hawaii for a while. Many stores and hotels will give “Kama’aina discounts” to locals.
Definition: Wanna fight?
Definition: Thank you
Definition: Towards the ocean. Used in directions.
Definition: Towards the mountains. Used in directions
Definition: Local boy. Will have an advanced understanding of pidgin.
Mo’ bettah: mo BEH·dah
Definition: Used like mainlanders use “a”.
Sentence: “Can get one ride fo work brah?”
Definition: Delicious, scrumptious, tastes good.
Sentence: “Those grindz were ono.”
Definition: The bud. The ganja. The trees. The green. The sticky icky. Weed.
Sentence: “We smokin’ pakalolo on the beach”
Sentence: “Are you finished yet?”
Pau Hana: pow HA·na
Definition: Done with work. Often used to describe after work drinks.
Sentence: “Eh, I pau hana across at da bar.”
Definition: Hole. Could be through a rock, or a donut. Just a hole
Sentence: “Throw that football through the puka you win a prize.”
Sentence: “Uncle Brian’s has great drinks and pupus.”
Definition: To fight.
Sentance: You want scrap, brah?
Definition: 1. Hand gesture used commonly in Hawaii. Make a fist, stick your thumb and pinky out and shake it.
Definition: Soy sauce
Definition: Sandals. Flip flops.
Definition: Dirty look
Definition: Talk shit
Definition: Converse. Gossip. Chat. A Hawaiian pastime.
Definition: Female moke
Definition: Used to reference Honolulu.
Definition: An older man. No need to be blood family.