Link Index to our Hawaiian Glossary

…And to our Talking Story Language of Intention

I have put this page together specifically as a glossary for those who are readers of Talking Story and who therefore expect the value-alignment message of Managing with Aloha.

This is NOT intended to be a comprehensive glossary of the Hawaiian language. I was born and raised in Hawai‘i and still live on the Big Island, however I am not fluent in the language, and use it in the native-yet-hapa way, i.e. with English as my first language, and as an expression of the kaona of my ‘Ohana and kÅ«puna [the hidden meanings within family story, and what I have learned from my native elders] and my own mana‘o [the beliefs and convictions which have become my spirit-woven truth.] Do read my About Page for fuller context.

Others in Hawai‘i may explain some of these words and phrases differently than I do. While that can frustrate some, especially those accustomed to attaching literal translations to words, we know this as the beauty of the Hawaiian language: You must own it as your spoken aloha, to be pono, and have integrity with speaking it.

The words and phrases which follow compose our Talking Story “language of intention” and include the shortcut acronyms we use here. I will continually update this page as more posts are written here using them. Language of Intention is a key concept in Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business:

Key 5. Language of Intention:

Language, vocabulary, and conversation combine as our primary tools in business communications: What we speak is fifty times more important than what we write. The need for CLEAR, intentional, reliable and responsive communication is critical in thriving businesses. Drive communication of the right messages, and you drive momentum and worthwhile energies.

To learn more about Managing with Aloha, please visit

Therefore, after each word or phrase below, listed in alphabetical order, you will find:

  1. A very brief definition
  2. A single article link which I feel best defines our Talking Story/ Managing with Aloha context
  3. A link to the tag index: When you click on that link, you will get a page of all the articles tagged with that word or phrase, and only here on this site.

Please understand that I do not feel qualified to respond to inquiries on the meanings of other Hawaiian words, or to offer you a Hawaiian phrase in translation of any other language. If you would like a recommendation on a Hawaiian~English dictionary, I offer my suggestions on this page. Three books are listed, one a dictionary, one on the wisdom of our elders, and one on Hawaiian proverbs.

As for more discussion on these words and phrases within our Talking Story mana‘o, I welcome you to the comment boxes of each link below!
See you there,

Rosa Say

Alaka‘i —historically known as the Hawaiian value of leadership. Alaka‘i is Chapter 14 in Managing with Aloha, and we refer to the “Alaka‘i Manager” as the personification of what a great manager possessing the calling of Managing with Aloha can be. — The 1-2-3 journey of Alaka‘i Managers — (Alaka‘i tag)

Alaka‘i ka ‘ike —guides of learning, or teachers (‘ike is knowledge)

Aloha —is our “inner spirit” and our authenticity, wherein we live from the inside (ha) out (alo). Aloha then, is both the outpouring and receiving of the spirit. As a value, Aloha is unconditional love and acceptance of humanity, for it is our common bond.  — Values are the Bedrock of Hard Reality — (Aloha tag)

A‘o Alaka‘inaa‘o is instruction or teaching as noun, i.e. can be another word for learning. Alaka‘ina is leadership guidance, and therefore we chose A‘o Alaka‘ina as the name of our coaching program at Say Leadership Coaching — A‘o Alaka‘ina: The SLC Coaching Program for Managers

D5M —discover the power of 5 minutes! D5M is our acronym for The Daily 5 Minutes ® — The Daily 5 Minutes: Your Talking Story Resource Page — (D5M tag)

Ha‘aha‘a —humility: “Looking after the welfare of people arises from an underlying spirit of sensitivity and feeling for others that flows from humbleness rather than from a conviction of superiority.” —Dr. George Kanahele, explaining how Ha‘aha‘a was interpreted by the ali‘i within Alaka‘i, their leadership of the Hawaiian people. Ha‘aha‘a is a value, and Chapter 12 in Managing with Aloha. — (Ha‘aha‘a tag)

Hau‘oli‘oli —joy, wonder and delight

Hau‘oli lā hānau —happy birthday. Rare in that this one is pretty literal! Happy (hau‘oli) day () of your birth (hānau)

Hō‘imi —means “look for better and best” — The 3 Secrets of Being Positive — (Hō‘imi tag)

Ho‘ohana —an ever-present intention we apply to the work (hana) we are personally inspired by and committed to: When we Ho‘ohana, we work with intent and with purpose. Ho‘ohana is a value, and Chapter 2 in Managing with Aloha. — (Ho‘ohana tag)

Ho‘ohanohano —dignity and respectfulness. To conduct oneself with honor and distinction: Ho‘ohanohanoa is a value, and Chapter 13 in Managing with Aloha. — (Ho‘ohanohano tag)

Ho‘okipa —the hospitality of complete giving. To welcome guests and strangers with your spirit of Aloha, and as Mea Ho‘okipa, the exceptional host. Ho‘okipa is a value, promoted as the Aloha standard and art of service in Hawai‘i. It is Chapter 6 in Managing with Aloha. — (Ho‘okipa tag)

Ho‘olōkahi —get to consensus, or make things unanimous. To bring about unity in a way that makes things peaceful and harmonious.

Ho‘omau —persistence and perseverance. To continue, to perpetuate. Never give up. Ho‘omau is a value, and Chapter 4 in Managing with Aloha. — (Ho‘omau tag)

‘Ike loa —the seeking of wisdom through lifelong learning. When coupled with Aloha there is an emphasis on learning from other people: ‘Ike loa is a value, and Chapter 11 in Managing with Aloha. — (‘Ike loa tag)

‘Imi ola —to seek (‘imi) life (ola): Our purpose in life is to seek its highest form. ‘Imi ola is a value, and Chapter 3 in Managing with Aloha. — (‘Imi ola tag)

Kākou —inclusiveness as a “language of we” in communication, and to foster open-mindedness in our collaborative efforts: Kākou is a value, and Chapter 9 in Managing with Aloha: at Say Leadership Coaching we teach Kākou as the value of communication — Kākou: A value wanting you to share it (link will take you to Joyful Jubilant Learning) — (Kākou tag)

Ka lā hiki ola —“the dawning of a new day.” Ka lā hiki ola is a value, and is the Epilogue in Managing with Aloha as our value of hope and promise. — (Ka lā hiki ola tag)

KÄ“ia lā —is “about today, the here and now” — What Your Big Ideas Do Best — (KÄ“ia lā tag)

Koa —courage: “In a society whose chiefs were trained in the arts of fighting from childhood, and who proved their mettle on the battlefields, physical courage can be expected as a badge of leadership. But courage has two sides: the physical, and the nonphysical, that is, the emotional, moral, or spiritual. Opposition to a hero comes in many different forms.” —Dr. George Kanahele, explaining how Ha‘aha‘a was interpreted by the ali‘i within Alaka‘i, their leadership of the Hawaiian people.

Kukupa‘u —is “with great enthusiasm” — Kukupa‘u: Be Enthusiastic! — (Kukupa‘u tag)

KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u —literally “Strive to reach the summit” and known as the favored saying of Queen Kapi‘olani (1874 – 1891). To pursue personal excellence and achievement. KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u is a value, and Chapter 5 in Managing with Aloha. — (KÅ«lia i ka nu‘u tag)

Kuleana —one’s personal sense of responsibility. Accountability. Kuleana is a value, and Chapter 10 in Managing with Aloha. — (Kuleana tag)

KÅ«pono —integrity: “KÅ«pono combines two words: kÅ« in this case meaning in a state of, and pono, meaning rectitude, uprightness, or goodness ” according to the Hawaiian way of thinking, there is little difference between being honest, upright, good, fair, or worthy.” —Dr. George Kanahele, explaining how Ha‘aha‘a was interpreted by the ali‘i within Alaka‘i, their leadership of the Hawaiian people. — (KÅ«pono tag)

Lōkahi —collaboration and cooperation. Harmony and unity. Lōkahi is a value, widely considered the value of teamwork, and it is Chapter 8 in Managing with Aloha. — (Lōkahi tag)

Luana —is “to be at leisure, enjoying yourself” — Learn about Luana this Weekend: I know you have it in you! — (Luana tag)

Mahalo —“thank you.” Mahalo is the value of appreciation and gratitude: It is to live your life in thankfulness for all its abundance. Mahalo is Chapter 16 in Managing with Aloha. — (Mahalo tag)

Mālama —caring and compassion. Mālama is the value of stewardship, and is Chapter 15 in Managing with Aloha. — (Mālama tag)

Na‘auao —intelligence and wisdom: “Na‘auao combines na‘au, mind, and ao, or daylight. Literally it means the daylight mind, or more appropriately, the enlightened mind ” No more fitting term can be found for the quality of mind that Hawaiian leaders, particularly the ali‘i, aspired to than that implicit in the ‘enlightened mind’.” —Dr. George Kanahele, explaining how Ha‘aha‘a was interpreted by the ali‘i within Alaka‘i, their leadership of the Hawaiian people. — (Na‘auao tag)

Nānā i ke kumu —look to your source. Find your truth. Nānā i ke kumu is a value, thought of as the value of self-awareness, and often referred to in discussions about one’s sense of place. It is and Chapter 17 in Managing with Aloha. — (Nānā i ke kumu tag)

‘Ohana —Those who are family, and those you choose to call your family. ‘Ohana is a human circle of complete Aloha. ‘Ohana is a value, and Chapter 7 in Managing with Aloha. — (‘Ohana tag)

Palena ‘ole —means “without boundaries” and in Managing with Aloha it is Key Concept #9: Unlimited Capacity, the manager’s exponential growth stage — Is it Time for Your Alaka‘i Abundance? — (Palena ‘ole tag)

Pono —rightness and balance. The feeling of contentment when all is good and all is right. Pono is a value, and is Chapter 18 in Managing with Aloha. — (Pono tag)

PÅ«‘olo Mea Maika‘i —‘a bundle of good things’ you return home with. Things you feel are gifts. — This posting puts it in the context of reading: PÅ«‘olo Mea Maika‘i: Playlists