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Pidgin English of Hawaii

Updated on September 6, 2013

What is Pidgin English?

Hawaii's diverse culture has allowed the creation of what is known as Pidgin English. Visitors will see this when visiting many local establishments such as restaurants, retail stores, etc. Here's a quick primer and guide as to what you may hear local residents saying and how to understand what it means.

Pidgin English Examples & Definitions


"try" - please
(real example: "try wait" means "please wait")

"da" - the
(real example: "dats da one!" means "that's the one" or "that's it" or "that is correct")

"da kine" - this is a replacement for the word you mean to say but don't have it at the tip of your toungue. The person you're talking to usually knows what you're talking about when saying "da kine."

"stay" - is
(real example: "da car stay ova dea" means "the car is over there")

"no make" - don't do that
(real example: "no make all crazy" means "don't make all crazy")

pau - Hawaiian word meaning finished/done
(real example: "i stay all pau with my homework" means "i'm finished/done with my homework")

"Puka" - a small hole, usually in clothing, shoes, wood, cars, etc.
(real example: "that rust puka on yo car going give you good air conditioning" means "that rust hole on your car is giving you good air conditioning")

"Grinds" - tasty food
(real example: "da grinds stay ono!" means "this food is very tasty and delicious")

"Hamajang / Hemajang" - all busted up
(real example: "inside the house stay all hamajang" means "inside the house is all busted up")

"bus' up" - broken, busted up
(real example: "the guys jaw stay all bus up!" means "the guys jaw is broken")

"ono" - Tasty, delicious.
(real example: "the food ova hea stay ono" means "the food here is tasty and delicious")

"Shoots!" - To concur enthusiastically. Can also mean "goodbye"

"choke" - An abundance of something
(real example: "man, get choke fishes biting today" means "there's an abundance of fishes in the water")

"rajah" - Understood, agreed, Ok
(real example: "rajah dat, cuz" means "i understand")

If you've been to Hawaii, have you witnessed locals speaking Pidgin?

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Great books to read for even more Pidgin English of Hawaii

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