You are here:Savio Home / Life in Hawaii / Oahu / 20 Odd-Funny Hawaiian Expressions

20 Odd-Funny Hawaiian Expressions

20 odd-funny Hawaiian expressions

For those of you not from Hawaii, here are some Hawaiian expressions that you might encounter should you have a chance to visit here. Except for the last two, I took all of the following from Jill Kozak in the May 14, 2015 issue of, a travel website:

1. Locals don’t cheer when they’re excited. They shout “Cheehoo!”
2.  When everything is all messed up, things are definitely “hamajang.”
3.  You don’t get hurt in Hawaii, you get “buss (bust) up.”
4.  A Hawaii local never has a lot of something, but always has “choke” amounts.
      Example: “Punaluu beach has choke turtles.”
5. A Hawaii local never travels seaside, but always goes “Makai.” Likewise, a local never goes toward the mountains, but “mauka.”
6. If something is bad, a local will most definitely call it “junk.”
7. You might think you just got in a fight, but really, you got “in one scrap.”
8. A mainland mother might tell you to change your underwear every day, a local mom will remind you to change your “bibidees.”
9. You don’t go to the bathroom to make number 1, you always make “shi-shi.”
10. Others will question whether or not you’re a local if you don’t call soy sauce “shoyu.”
11. Anything that’s a pain in the butt is mostly definitely “humbug”
12. When your nose is runny, auntie might scold you to blow out your”hanabata.”
13. If your tan  needs work and your pale skin is noticeable, someone might call you “Daikon legs.”
14. Sitting on a hard surface too long or dealing with hamajang situations is certainly a pain in the “okole.”
15. A Hawaii local doesn’t smoke marijuana, but smokes “pakalolo.”
16. Locals don’t’ ask if you’re finished, they ask if you “stay pau.”

And if I may add my own to the above…
17. When locals eat, they “kaw kaw” and food is "grindz"
18. "Grindz" that tastes good is very "ono."
19. Hawaiians  go not to the supermarket but to “da store.”
20. A disagreement  is a "pilikia."
Shown above is part of the Big Island's Ahalanui county park which boasts of a palm-fringed thermally heated hot pond right next to the ocean. I saw a rainbow on the horizon one afternoon I was there and took this shot.
Another view of the warm pond. Photo source:
Looking at the warm pond from the ocean side. Photo source: 
Posted with Aloha
back to top

About the Savio Group

Peter B. Savio is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Savio Group of Companies. Peter has more than 40 years experience in real estate development and sales in the Hawaii market; he has been helping his clients realize the maximum return on their real estate investments since he founded Savio Realty Ltd. in 1980.

Savio Realty Ltd.

Focused in Residential and Commercial real estate across the islands and rental management on the Big Island. With 3 offices and 100+ agents, we can help you buy, sell, or invest in Hawaii real estate. Learn more »

Savio Asset Management LLC

Rentals and property management services. We have extensive experience in helping tenants and property owners with all of their rental needs - from managing properties to maintenance & repairs.  Learn more »

Savio Developments Ltd.

With more than 30 years of project brokerage in Hawaii, Savio Developments is continuously developing landmark properties throughout Hawaii. Learn more »