Get in on the Fun: Learn Some Hawaiian Slang or Pidgin and Experience the Culture Like a Local. (updated 2023)

Learning some Hawaii slang or pidgin can be funny and frustrating to master. The slang language is typically how locals on the island chit chat and talk story with friends and family in a local style. These expressions are typically condense words or sayings that the same anywhere on the islands and passed through family and friends – the shorter the expression, mo, bettah for everyone.

Now you can learn some basic local Hawaii pidgin or slang and talk story with each other and at least try and make a stab at it when you are here visiting.

Hawaiian slang words can be simple, funny or more complex depending on who you talk with and how hard they are to understand.

Learn some Hawaii slang or Pidgin

History and background of Hawaiian pidgin

Many of these Hawaiian pidgin terms are typically how early plantation workers from Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Hawaiian and others communicated with each other in simple or broken English.

Many of these terms are not so easy to understand or are spoken in reverse but no worries, if it doesn’t make sense to you now. With some practise on some of the slang can stick to you and you’ll get to use them in a natural way with locals on the islands and talk story as we say.

The simplified, broken English was called Hawaiian Pidgin and full of slang phrases that most locales could eventually communicate and otherstand each other in very simple English terms.

Pick up some Hawaiian slang and sayings

Whether you just want to try and understand what Hawaiian lingo is being said in local talk or trying to pick a few of these slang into your chats, you’ll get a better understanding or a chuckle at what some of these Hawaiian slang words or what these everyday expressions actually mean.

Even if you don’t want to speak pidgin, it’s good to understand what others may be talking about without trying to interupt or ask what is being said.

Hawaii pidgin for eating terms

Hawaii pidgin for eating or foodie terms

Pidgin slang for food or eating is short and direct. If you want to pick up some Hawaiian slang terms for food, check out these Hawaiian slang words for anything about food, eating and enjoying foods of Hawaii.

You’ll learn to pick up some favorite pidgin slang below to talk like a local and have a fun conversation with someone on the islands.

Say Shoyu instead of Soy Sauce

Ask for Saimin instead of Ramen

Order some Pupu instead of an appetizer

Ask for shave ice not shaved ice (you’ll get strange looks)

Broke da mouth means delicious and so good

Say Pau for done or I’m finished

Say Ono or Onolicious for delicious

Look for wagon instead of a shopping cart

Kau kau time for dinner time

Time for grindz or food

Got choke or plenty

Scosh or just a little or small size

Hawaiian pidgin appearance terms

Hawaiian dress or appearance

Hawaii pidgin covering dress and appearance is funny and odd at the same time. Check out some of these slang terms below.

Here’s some basic dressing terms or accessories in pidgin to learn

Wear yo slippahs and not flip flops

Bolo head for bald

It’s sweater or a sweat shirt

A lavalava is also a sarong

Titah bun or quick hair bun style or messy hair

General expressions or sayings in Hawaii

Basic expressions and greetings can be used in your everyday communications, and you’ll pick up quickly some of these basic greetings to have simple conversations with locals and everyone you meet if you want on the islands. You can start to recognize many of the sayings below that is used for everyday conversation in pidgin and maybe easy for you to include in your daily greetings.

Howzit or hello

Mahalo or thank you

Rajah meaning you agree or okay with

Dats cherry or cool

Imua means go for it

Dakine for whatchamacallit, anything or don’t remember what it is

Eh Brah or hey brother or bros

Talk story or have a conversation, gossip or catch up

We go mainland not the United States

Shoots generally means okay – similar to Rajah

Let’s holoholo or cruise or go out

Small kine or just a little

Hana Hou or encore/let’s do it again

You Akamai or smart

Kapu means taboo or prohibited

Say Chout instead of watch out

Kapakahi instead of messed up

Hemo or take off

Hanaaaa or halanaka means your in trouble

Say Pssst instead of say hey

Lets hele or go now

Auwe means ouch

Chance em or give it a try

Kanikapila or let’s play some music

Want pakololo instead of marijuana

Big puka instead of a hole

Say come for will you come over here

K-den instead of bye

Kokua or help and assist

Buggah meaning a male person

Some funny Hawaiian slang phrases

These Hawaiian slang terms are really funny and cool depending on the age group and who you are talking to. Try some of these slang words below to someone you know or want to just try it out for fun.

He lolo or crazy

Squirleh is a guy or girl that is wishy washy or sneaky and not a good thing

Got chicken skin or goosebumps

Oh da cute or how cute

Who went fut means who farted

Stink eye for that dirty look

Bus’ laff in stead of laughed so hard.

Say bumbai instead of see you later or just later

Okolehao means Bottoms up.

You like go show nah we go movies

Say Li dat instead of like that

You buss for drunk or messed up

Okole or your butt

Guaranty also means yes if asked a question

Yeah You or your right or I see you

Dat Buggah can mean anything or a general expression of surprise or agreement

Aurieee is a cool way of saying alright

Cheee Hoooo is a loud cheer mostly at celebrations or fun events

Nah, Nah Nah is a long way of saying no not really

Like liken or a good spanking

No Ack means don’t act like that

You’ll find some of these Hawaiian slang phrases, can be relatively easy incorporated into your daily conversations while on the island and talkin with the locals.

Body and Personal hygene

These can be funny or straight to the point to body parts or personal hygene matters.

That’s my piko meaning your belly button

Your Okole not your ass

I go shi shi  instead of pee pee

Pilau is something stinky or smelly

So that’s a few of the funny terms and Hawaiian slang words that you can add to your local vocabulary. Enjoy some of these hilarious videos below and see if your bold enough to try them.

Still want more?

Here’s a few more to learn in this short Hawaiian slang dictionary for you to master.

If we missed anything else, please add in the comments below, mahalo.

Funny video inspiration on Hawaiian pidgin

More inside tips to learning some Hawaiian slang or pidgin

Here are some inside tips to get started:

Watch Local Media: Tune in to local Hawaiian television or radio stations. Listening to native speakers will help you pick up the unique cadence and vocabulary.

Ask Locals: Strike up conversations with locals and ask them about common slang words and phrases. Hawaiians are known for their friendliness and are often willing to share their language with newcomers.

Read Local Literature: Explore books, magazines, or newspapers written by Hawaiian authors. These sources may contain colloquial language that’s commonly used in daily life.

Online Resources: There are websites and forums dedicated to Hawaiian slang and Pidgin. Join online communities to ask questions and learn from others.

Language Apps: Look for language-learning apps or websites that offer Hawaiian or Pidgin courses. These interactive tools can be a great way to practice.

Take a Class: If you’re serious about learning, consider enrolling in a local language class. Many community centers and schools offer courses in Hawaiian language and culture.

Watch Local Stand-Up Comedy: Hawaiian comedians often incorporate Pidgin into their routines. Watching their performances can be both entertaining and educational.

Use it in Conversations: The best way to learn is by using the language in real conversations. Don’t be afraid to incorporate Hawaiian slang or Pidgin words when appropriate.

Listen and Repeat: Pay attention to how locals speak, and try to mimic their pronunciation and intonation. Practice is key to mastering any language.

Be Respectful: Remember that Hawaiian slang and Pidgin are an important part of local culture. Approach learning with respect and an open mind.

Local Music: Listen to Hawaiian music, reggae, and local hip-hop artists. Many songs feature Pidgin lyrics, providing an opportunity to learn while enjoying music.

Watch Movies and Shows: Some Hawaiian movies and TV shows use Pidgin in their dialogue. Watching these can be an entertaining way to learn.

Learning Hawaiian slang and Pidgin can be a rewarding experience, deepening your connection to the local culture and people. Embrace the laid-back spirit of Hawaii and enjoy the process of picking up these unique linguistic flavors.

More funny Hawaiian slang

Check out these other posts on Hawaii

If you are visiting the islands, check out these other fun topics, tips and places to visit in Hawaii and have a great time here.

Hawaii Travel Tips

A Hawaii travel guide primer

Virtual tours of Hawaii

Hawaiian Sunrises and Sunsets

Best Beaches in Hawaii

Fun and interesting facts about Hawaii

Plant a garden in Hawaii

Popular Hawaiian dishes you need to try

Traditional Hawaiian food favorite dishes

Farmers markets in Hawaii

How to eat cheap in Hawaii

Comfort foods of Hawaii

Share and pin this for later

Learn some local Hawaii slang or Pidgin
Learn some local Hawaii slang or Pidgin
Learn some local Hawaii slang or Pidgin

Why Learn some Pidgin?

Learning some Hawaiian slang or Pidgin can be a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and connect with the people of Hawaii. It can also help you navigate daily interactions more easily, as these unique forms of language are commonly used in casual conversation.

Additionally, knowing some Hawaiian slang or Pidgin can add a fun and playful element to your experience, allowing you to better understand and appreciate the local humor and social dynamics. Overall, taking the time to learn some Hawaiian slang or Pidgin can enhance your trip to Hawaii and help you create lasting memories with the locals.


Conclusion on learning Hawaiian slang or Pidgin

You’ll find trying out some of the Hawaiian slang words easy and a natural thing to try and add to your conversations with locals living on the islands. You won’t need a Hawaiian dictionary after learning most of these popular Hawaiian pidgin words or sayings above and maybe include those into your everyday conversations on the islands.

I want to hear from you!

So, which of these Hawaiian slang words are you going to try out soon? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

.If you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons around the page.

Thanks for visiting This Hawaii life and checking out this post on Learn some Hawaii slang or Pidgin.

We love shares - Mahalo!



  1. Locals love these tasty Hawaii snacks - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]
  2. How to make a lei - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian pidgin or local slang […]
  3. Loco Moco - This Hawaii Life - […] it’s weird because moco means mucus, so the actual translation is Crazy Snot dish in Spanish. Local slang and…
  4. Visiting Hawaiian Petroglyphs at this time - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]
  5. Living in Hawaii - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]
  6. Hawaii Airport Guide - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]
  7. Farmers market in Hawaii - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]
  8. Hawaiian Sunsets and Sunrise - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian pidgin or slang […]
  9. Best time of year to visit Hawaii now - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]
  10. Hawaiian culture and traditions - This Hawaii Life - […] out this post on Pidgin for better understanding and a few fun video chuckles to view on the […]
  11. What Does POW Mean In Hawaii? – Fallsgardencafe - […] Rajah dat or something you say in agreement. Dats cherry or cool. Imua means go for it. via […]
  12. Hawaii sunsets - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian pidgin or slang […]
  13. Bargain shopping in Hawaii - This Hawaii Life - […] Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.