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Hawaiian Dictionary

By Mary Kawena Pukui

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Book Id: WPLBN0002096804
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 58.98 MB
Reproduction Date: 6/7/2011

Title: Hawaiian Dictionary  
Author: Mary Kawena Pukui
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, Education, Hawaiian Language
Collections: Authors Community, Education
Publication Date:
Publisher: University of Hawai'I Press
Member Page: Hale Kuamoʻo Hawaiian Language Center


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Kawena Pukui, B. M. (1986). Hawaiian Dictionary. Retrieved from

Authors rarely have the privilege, after twenty-five years, of revising a work of considerable size. We are grateful to have had this privilege, because the need for a complete revision of the Hawaiian Dictionary has long been evident, judging from the response of scholars and of many other readers, not only in Hawai?i, but from all parts of the world. Work of revision, begun in 1972, has taken so long that the compilers often wondered if they would live to see the final form of this labor of love. In this preface we review the additions and changes that have been incorporated in this latest edition. About 3,000 new entries have been added to the Hawaiian-English section, bringing the total number of entries in that section to about 29,000. Almost certainly it is the largest and most complete of any Polynesian dictionary. Partly because of the increased interest in Hawaiiana, many books have appeared since the first edition was compiled in the early 1950s. Those sources most productive of new entries and additional meanings of old entries include the following (see the References for bibliographic details): Handy and Pukui 1958, Ii 1959, Gosline and Brock 1960, Kamakau 1961, 1964, 1976, Neal 1965, Johnson and Mahelona 1970, Pukui, Haertig, and Lee 1972, Elbert and Pukui 1979, St. John 1982. In addition to entirely new entries and meanings, many changes have been effected that, we hope, willincrease the usefulness of the book. These include a means of showing stress groups to facilitate pronunciation of words with more than three syllables; indication of Hawaiian parts of speech; scientific names of plants changed since the early 1950s; additional ancestral reconstructions; classical origins of Hawaiian borrowings; corrections of previous entries that were made as knowledge of the language progressed; and many more cross references that, when consulted, should enhance understanding of words and their many nuances. Hawaiian-language newspapers—excellent sources for names of rains, stars, winds, lua fighting holds, and much else—were reexamined, as well as the important old books in Hawaiian by Kelekona and by Nakuina, and volumes 5 and 6 of the Fornander series. Many legal and land terms from about the middle of the last century were uncovered by William H. Wilson and Ray Kala Enos, as they translated Hawaiian-language documents at the Hawai?i State Archives. Effort has been extended, through careful cross-referencing, to make the English-Hawaiian section a more detailed “index” of the riches, many of them hidden, on the Hawaiian-English side. Here are some comparisons of the number of epithets and cross references to sayings in the Hawaiian-English section (the number of examples in the present edition precedes the number in the previous editions): insults (45, 20), laziness (48, 0), love (18, 8), rain names (138, 17), warriors (20, 5), wind names (160, 138). These topics are also entered: 94 lua fighting holds (most of them are poetic and have no obvious connection with combat), 67 hula terms, and 22 epithets for vagabonds. Hula masters and students have called the dictionary their bible, perhaps because of the many citations from chants, songs, and ancient prayers, the poetic sayings and epithets, and the abundance of pithy proverbs that comment on many aspects of ancient Hawaiian life. Perhaps no other Polynesian dictionary contains as much poetry, folklore, and ethnology.

In the revised dictionary we have attempted to credit Greek, Hebrew, and Latin as sources of many loan words in Hawaiian, drawing on Elbert and Knowlton's unpublished paper (1985) that lists words probably from Greek (mostly in the New Testament), Hebrew (mostly in the Old Testament), and Latin (mostly of non-Hawaiian animals and terms for Christian services). We found that the meanings of Hawaiian words in the King James Version (KJV) differed considerably from those in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1946–1952 (Old Testament) and 1971 (New Testament). In such cases both definitions are given, the RSV meanings appearing first, as presumably based on later research. There is no assurance that all such differences in the two versions are noted. In the table below are listed a few of the many words from Greek, Hebrew, and Latin with RSV glosses that differ from KJV glosses. Notice that in every case the alternate spelling (with non-Hawaiian letters) clearly reflects the source language. Notice also that the Hawaiian loan words of Greek origin in this short list end in o; this is probably because of the frequency of Greek words ending in os, the singular nominative suffix.


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