Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"The Meaning of Aloha and Malaho"

Aloha & Mahalo[Pronounced: ah loh' hah & mah hah' loh]pronunciation guide
If you learn just two words in Hawaiian, learn these. They are two of the most important words in the Hawaiian language, representing paramount Hawaiian values.
In Hawaiian thinking, words have
mana [pronounced: mah' nah], meaning spiritual or divine power], and aloha and mahalo are among the most sacred and powerful.
Say them often as they can be life-transforming and -enhancing. Be careful to use them ONLY if you truly feel mahalo or aloha within. Do not exploit these words for personal gain, and neither cheapen, nor trivialize their use by verbalizing them carelessly or without sincerity.
Aloha and mahalo are ineffable, indescribable, and undefinable with words alone; to be understood, they must be experienced.
Deeper meaning and sacredness is hinted at by the root words of these words. Linguists differ in their opinions as to the exact meanings and origins, but this is what was told to me by my kupuna (elder):
On a spiritual level, aloha is an invocation of the Divine and mahalo is a Divine blessing. Both are acknowledgments of the Divinity that dwells within and without.
Aloha[Alo = presence, front, face] + [hâ = breath]"The presence of (Divine) Breath."
Mahalo[Ma = In] + [hâ = breath] + [alo = presence, front, face]"(May you be) in (Divine) Breath."
Think of them as single-word blessings or prayers.
The following are dictionary definitions using English words, which are approximate translations, at best:*

Aloha. 1. Aloha, love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards; sweetheart, lover, lover, loved one; beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable; to love, be fond of; to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection; to venerate; to remember with affection; to greet, to hail. Greetings! Hello! Good-by! Farewell! Alas!
Aloha `oe! [ah loh' hah oe!] May you be loved or greeted! Farewell or greetings to one person.
Aloha kâua! [ah loh' hah KAH'oo (w)ah!]May there be friendship or love between us! Greetings to you and me!
Aloha kâkou! [ah loh' hah KAH' kou!]same as above, but to more than one person.
Ke aloha nô! [ah loh hah NOH'] Aloha indeed!
Aloha! [ Ah loh' hah!] Greetings!"
"Mahalo. 1. Thanks, gratitude; to thank.
Mahalo nui loa.[mah hah' loh noo'(w)ee loh'(w)ah] Thanks very much.
`Ôlelo mahalo [OH' leh loh mah hah' loh]compliment
Mahalo â nui [mah hah' loh (W)AH' noo'(w)ee]Thanks very much.
2. Admiration, praise, esteem, regards, respects; to admire, praise, appreciate.
`O wau nô me ka mahalo, [oh vau NOH' meh kah mah hah'loh] I am, [yours] respectfully,
Ka mea i mahalo `ia, Laki [kah meh'(y)ah ee mah hah'loh ee'(y)ah, lah' kee] The esteemed Laki."
*Source: Pukui, Mary Kawena & Elbert, Samuel H., HAWAIIAN DICTIONARY, University of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, 1986.
One of the most frequently requested translations is:
Aloha au iâ `oe.[ah loh' hah vau' ee (Y)AH' oe]I love you.


  1. Aloha!
    Thank you for your article. I was wondering if I can use both words together as a way of greeting someone I value and respect. Like "Aloha Mahalo,...".

  2. Nice blog. Thanks very much.


  3. Ua la maikai`i !!!
    Have a nice day!!!

  4. chung cư tiếng anh chung cư tiếng anh là gì ? dự án Aloha beach village với 32 tiện ích hấp dẫn mang đậm văn hawai đi chơi Phan thiết ăn gì bình thuận ngon nhất Aloha phan thiết bình thuận Phan thiết bình thuận có gì hấp dẫn trong việc đầu tư - Condotel đà nẵng tổng hợp những danh sách nổi bậc nhất hiện nay Cocobay ở đà nẵng đà nẵng nằm trên tuyến đường du lịch đà nẵng hội an sân bay Phan thiết ở đâu của tỉnh Bình Thuận có thuận tiên đi lại không san bay phan thiet như thế nào có đẩy giá lên caao không ? Phan Thiết đi sài gòn bao nhiêu km nên đi bằng xe gì là thích hợp