If You Can Pronounce These 14 Words, You’ve Lived In Hawaii For Far Too Long

The Hawaiian Islands are unique in more ways than anyone can count — and that includes our language, vocabulary, and local diction. The Hawaiian language is notoriously difficult for outsiders to understand, and chances are if you can pronounce these 14 hard Hawaiian words with ease, you’re either from the islands, or have lived here long enough to be considered a true local.

Who are we kidding? Most Hawaiian words are difficult to pronounce if you haven’t lived in the beautiful Aloha State for long. Even our most common words and phrases can be tricky to learn.

The OIYS Visitor Center

hard Hawaiian words

August 12, 2022

What unique words and phrases do people in Hawaii say?

Every state has its own unique words and phrases, but Hawaii really takes this to new levels when you factor in the beautiful Hawaiian language. When you meet someone, your normal go-to phrase on the mainland might be “what’s up,” but in Hawaii, you’ll often hear “howzit.” You’ll also need to know the Hawaiian words for men and women, especially if you plan on using the restrooms: wahine and kane are the Hawaiian words for men and women, and you’ll often see these to designate bathrooms throughout the islands.

What are the weirdest things about Hawaii?

Hawaii has a quirky side, and we love it. One of the weirdest things about Hawaii you’ll run into is when asking for directions. Typically, Hawaiians don’t use the usual cardinal directions when explaining how to get somewhere. Instead, “mauka” or “makai” are used, which means towards the mountains or towards the sea. Even further, don’t expect to be given the distance in miles. We prefer to go by the time it’ll take to reach our destination. 10 miles? With traffic, 30 minutes.

What stereotypes are there about Hawaii?

Just like the mainland, Hawaii has plenty of stereotypes. One of the most popular stereotypes in Hawaii, besides the beach, is Spam. It’s true, Hawaiians love this canned ham and have loved it ever since it was introduced to the islands in the 1940s. The only thing Hawaiians love more than Spam is Ohana. Ohana means family, and Hawaiians value family above everything else. And when you visit, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and you’ll feel just like one of the family.