`Ôlelo No`eau: Hawaiian Words of Wisdom
A`ohe loa`a i ka hana a ke aloha.
Distance is ignored by love.
Awaiâulu ke aloha.
Love made fast by tying together.
E kolo ana no ke êwe i ke êwe.
The rootlet will creep toward the rootlets.
Of the same origin, kinfolk will seek and love each other.
E lei kau, e lei ho`oilo i ke aloha.
Love is worn like a wreath through the
summers and the winters.
Love is everlasting.
Hâ`ale`ale i ka pu`uwai.
A heart full to the brim (with love).
He ali`i ke aloha, he kilohana e pa`a ai.
Love is like a chief: the best prize to hold fast to.
He ali`i ke aloha, he `ohu no ke kino.
Love is chiefly, an adornment for the person.
Uttered by Hi`iaka in a chant to the sister of Lohi`au.
He `e`epa ke aloha, he kula`ilua.
Love is peculiar; it pushes in opposite directions.
Loves goes two ways–to love and to be loved.
He kêhau ho`oma`ema`e ke aloha.
Love is like cleansing dew.
Love removes hurt.
He manu ke aloha, `a`ohe lâlâ kau `ole.
Love is like a bird–there is no branch that it
does not perch upon.
Love is an emotion shared by all.
He mea aloha `ia ke kâne i ka `ili.
The husband of the skin is to be loved.
One’s husband, who is as close as the skin of one’s body, should always be loved. The term for a husband who is always near, in joy and in sorrow, is “Kâne i ka `ili.” Such a wife is “Wahine i ka `ili.”
He `ohu ke aloha; `a`ohe kuahiwi kau `ole.
Love is like a mist–there is no mountaintop
that it does not settle upon.
Love comes to all.
He `olina leo ka ke aloha.
A joyousness is in the voice of love.
Love speaks in a gentle and joyous voice,
not in harshness or gruffness.
He pûnâwai kahe wale ke aloha.
Love is a spring that flows freely.
Love is without bounds and exists for all.
He waiwai nui ke aloha; o ka`u no
ia e pulama nei.
Love is a great treasure which I cherish.
A common expression in chants and songs.
Ho`i hou i ka mole.
Return to the taproot.
The return to love and loyalty for kith and kin after
a severing of relationship.
Ho`okâhi no kaunu like ana i Waialoha.
Together there will be friendliness at Waialoha.
The enjoyment of friendliness by all. Wai-aloha (Water-of-love) is a place on Kaua`i. When mentioned in poetry it refers to love and friendliness.
I ho`okâhi kâhi ke aloha.
Be one in love.
Be united in the bond of affection.
I ho`okâhi ka umauma, ho`okâhi ke aloha.
All abreast together, one in love.
All united in harmony and love.
I ka noho pu ana a `ike i ke aloha.
It is only when one has lived with another
that one knows the meaning of love.
Ka `elele leo `ole o ke aloha.
The voiceless message of love.
A letter bearing words of love and cheer.
Ka lau `oliwa a ke aloha.
The olive leaf of love.
A gift, kindly given. From the story of Noah’s Ark.
Kama `ia ke aloha a pa`a i loko.
Bind love that it may remain fast within.
Be a person who knows love.
O ke aloha ke kuleana o kâhi malihini.
Love is the host in strange lands.
In old Hawai`i, every passerby was greeted and offered food
whether he was an acquaintance or a total stranger.
`Ono kâhi `ao lû`au me ke aloha pû.
A little taro green is delicious when love is present.
Even the plainest fare is delicious when there is love.
Pili kau, pili ho`oilo.
Together in the dry season, together in the wet season.
Said of a loving companionship.
Pû`olo waimaka a ke aloha.
Tears (are) bundles of love.
Love brings tears to the eyes.
Ua hilo `ia i ke aho a ke aloha.
Braided with the cords of love.
Held in the bond of affection.
Ua kuluma ke kanaka i ke aloha.
Love is a customary virtue with man.
Man encounters love daily.
Ua ola loko i ke aloha.
Love gives life within.
Love is imperative to one’s mental and physical welfare.
`Ôlelo No`eau: Ipo / Sweetheart
`Akâhi ho`i ku`u `ono i ka uhu ka`alo
i ku`u maka.
Now I long for the uhu fish that passes before my eyes.
How I would like that handsome fellow for a sweetheart.
The uhu is a bright-colored fish, beautiful to look at, and tasty.
E mana`o a`e ana e lei i ka
lehua o Mokaulele.
A wish to wear the lehua of Mokaulele in a lei.
A wish to win the maiden. Lei symbolizes a sweetheart,
and lehua, a pretty girl.
He kâpili manu no ka uka o `Ôla`a
he pipili mamau i ka ua nui.
A birdcatching gum of the upland of `Ôla`a that
sticks and holds fast in the pouring rain.
Said of one who holds the interest and
love of a sweetheart at all times.
Hoa pûpu`u o ka pô anu.
A companion to crouch with on a cold night.
A sweetheart or spouse.
Kâkia kui nao a ke akamai.
The nailing down of a screw by an expert.
A boast of skill in securing something and holding on to it. This saying is taken from an old love song in which the singer claims
that the love of her sweetheart is securely nailed down.
Makua keiki i ka poli.
The child in the heart has grown to be a man.
Said of one who loved as a child and finds his love reawakened
in manhood. First uttered by Lohi`au, whose love reawakened
upon meeting his old sweetheart, Pele`ula.
Nui ka hanu o Limahuli i
nâ lehua o Lulu`upali.
Heavily-sighed Limahuli falls over the
lehua blossoms of Lulu`upali.
Said of a person in love who sighs over a sweetheart.
O ke aloha o ke ipo, he wela ia no ke kino.
The love of a sweetheart is like a hot fire in the body.
Ua `ai i ke kâî koi o `Ewa…
Having eaten of the very choice taro of `Ewa…
Said of a sweetheart one can’t forget.
Mehe ipo lâ ka maka lena o ke Ko`olau.
Like a sweetheart is the yellow flower
center of the Ko`olau.
From a chant.
Courting / Wooing /Lovemaking
`Ale mai ke aloha kau i ka maka.
Love comes like a billow and rests before the eyes.
Said of an overwhelming love that leaves a constant yearning,
with the image of one’s affections ever before one.
`A`ohe kanaka i `eha `ole i ke aloha.
Nobody has ever missed feeling the pang of love.
`A`ohe manu noho i ka lipo e
pakele i ke kâpi`o.
No bird of the deep forest can escape his snare.
Said of a person who can win the love of anyone he chooses.
`A`ole e `ôlelo mai ana ke ahi ua ana ia.
Fire will never say that it has had enough.
The fire of love (or anger) will burn as long as
it has something to feed upon.
`Eha i ka `eha lima `ole a ke aloha.
Smitten by love, with a pain administered without hands.
Deeply in love.
E lei no au i ko aloha.
I will wear your love as a wreath.
I will cherish your love as a beautiful adornment.
Hâko`i wai a ka neki.
Water agitated among the rushes.
The throbbing of the heart of one in love at the sight
of the object of his/her affection.
He `ai kuli ke aloha mai na kûpuna mai.
Love has had a deaf way of its own since
the days of the ancestors.
A person who is very much in love often does not heed counsel.
He kauwâ ke kanaka na ke aloha.
Man is a slave of love.
He lele pâ iki–ke aloha kamali`i.
A light touch–so is love among children.
Children may imagine themselves in love, but it is only a passing fancy–puppy love. Not so is the love of a mature person.
He lele pâ iki kau ka mana`o; ke aloha kamali`i he lalau no.
(An adult) lets his fancy take flight and touches lightly while a child lover reaches out directly.
An adult lover dreams, plans, and gently woos;
a child is clumsy in his lovemaking.
He limu ke aloha, he pakika i ke one o Mahamoku.
Love is like the slippery moss on the sand of Mahamoku.
One can fall in love before s/he realizes it.
He ma`i pi`i ali`i ke aloha.
Love is a disease that does not even spare the chiefs.
He pûhi ke aloha, he i`a noho i ke ale.
Love is like an eel, the creature that
dwells in the sea cavern.
Love makes one restless in the mind, like the writhing of an eel.
Hiu a wela, lawe a lilo!
Strike when hot, and take it away!
Make passionate love and take possession.
Win the game and take the prize.
Hoa kîhei pili.
A coverlet companion.
Said of a person with whom one is having an affair.
I mânai kau, i pua ho`i ka`u, kui `ia ka makemake a lawa pono.
Yours the lei-making needle, mine the flowers; so let us do as we wish (make a complete lei).
You, the man and I, the woman; let us satisfy the demands of love. Said by Hi`aka in a chant as she embraced Lohi`au at the rim of Kîlauea to rouse the jealous wrath of her sister Pele.
I nanea no ka holo o ka wa`a i ke
akamai o ke ku hoe.
One can enjoy a canoe ride when the paddler is skilled.
A sexual union is successful when the man knows how it is done.
Ka nîoi aku ia e welawela ai ko nuku.
That is the chili pepper that will burn your lips.
Said of one whose lovemaking is like the fiery taste of
peppers. It is long remembered
Ke kope ho`ohia`â maka o Kona.
The coffee of Kona that keeps the eyes from sleeping.
This saying applies not only to coffee, but also to love.
To be in love with a person of Kona is to lose much sleep.
Kuhi no ka lima, `âwihi no ka maka, o ka loa`a no ia a ka maka onaona.
With a hand gesture and a wink, an attractive
person can get whomever s/he desires.
Li`ili`i kamali`i, nunui ka `omo`omo palaoa; li`ili`i pua mau`u kihe ka puka ihu.
Small child, but a big loaf of bread; small blade of grass, but it tickles the nostril enough
to cause sneezing.
Once said by a chiefess in praise of a teenage boy with whom she had an affair, this became a humorous saying throughout the islands.
Like no lâua me Limunui.
He is like Limunui.
Women fall in love with him as easily as gathering limu (seaweed). This was said of Kahalai`a, a chief who was very handsome and kind.
O ka papa he`e nalu kêia, pahe`e i ka nalu ha`i o Makaiwa.
A woman’s boast. Her beautiful body is like the surfboard on which her mate “glides over the rolling surf.”
O ke ao aku noho`i koe, `âina `e ka hâuliuli.
It was almost day when the hâuliuli fish
began to take the bait.
One was just about giving up hope when the person he/she was angling for showed some response.
O ke ku hoe akamai no ia, he pi`ipi`i kai`ole ma ka `ao`ao.
Said of a deft lover.
Pipili i ka hana makamaka `ole, ho`okâhi no makamaka o ke kâunu a ka mana`o.
Sticks to the work in which friends are ignored; only one friend is considered, the desire of the heart.
Ua ka`a niniau i ka wili wai.
Swirled about by the eddying waters.
Dizzy from being madly in love. Also, intoxicated.
Ua kohu ke kâunu ana i Waialoha.
Lovemaking at Waialoha is suitable.
The match is good; the course of true love should be encouraged.
`Upu mai nei ke aloha.
A sudden yearning to see a loved one.
Wai o kâunu.
Water of love.
The thrilling effects of being in love.
Welawela ke kai o ka moa.
Hot is the broth of the chicken.
Said of a person who is potent in love. Like hot chicken broth
–very tasty, but not to be gulped too quickly. There’s
always a desire for more.
Welo ke aloha i ka `ônohi.
Love flutters to and fro before the eyes.
Said of a longing to see a loved one whose image
is constantly in mind.
E hele ka `elemakule, ka luahine,
a me na kamali`i a moe i ke ala
`a`ohe mea nana e ho`opilikia.
Let the old men, the old women, and the children go
and sleep on the wayside; let them not be molested.
The Law of the Splintered Paddle,
King Kamehameha I.
Ua mau ke ea o ka `aina i ka pono.
The life of the land is preserved in righteousness.
Motto of Hawai`i.
Motto of Queen Lili`uokalani.
`A`ohe lokomaika`i i nele i ke pâna`i.
No kind deed has ever lacked its reward.
Hawaiians are known
for their generosity, hospitality
and warm sharing.
This giving nature is grounded in the
principle of reciprocity.
When given, the Hawaiian will give back
in equal measure or more,
be it a gift or a smile.
E noho iho i ke opu weuweu, mai ho`oki`eki`e.
Remain among the clumps of grass and do not elevate yourself.
Don’t show off.
Don’t get puffed up and big-headed.
Be ha`aha`a (humble),
which does not mean
timid, submissive, and spineless.
An inner self-confidence
which gives rise to quiet strength
is far more admirable than
Ku`ia ka hele a ka na`au ha`aha`a.
Hesitant walks the humble hearted.
A humble person walks carefully, so as not to hurt others.
Don’t walk all over people !
Those who are sensitive to others
inspire respect and allegiance.
Those who throw their weight around
will hurt others, and eventually themselves,
when enough people
have been hurt.
Aia a pa`i `ia ka maka, ha`i `ia kupuna nana `oe.
Only when your face is slapped should you tell
who your ancestors are.
Do not ride
on the coattails of your kupuna (ancestors).
For anyone of aristocratic ancestry,
speaking or boasting of one’s pedigree
was unseemly, unless slandered or challenged.
For the commoner,
impressing others by trying to be someone else
was improper, and
fussing over status was pretentious.
He lawai`a no ke kai papa`u, he pôkole ke aho;
he lawai`a no ke kai hohonu he loa ke aho.
A fisherman of the shallow sea
uses only a short line;
a fisherman of the deep sea has a long line.
whose knowledge is shallow
does not have much,
but he, whose knowledge is deep, does.
Aloha mai no, aloha aku;
o ka huhu ka mea e ola `ole ai.
When love is given, love should be returned;
anger is the thing that gives no life.
the transforming power of aloha.
Love begets love,
and enmity produces enmity.
Anger only serves to hurt the angry,
causing emotional upset,
which impairs mental,
physical, and spiritual well-being.
Nana ka maka;
ho`olohe ka pepeiao;
pa`a ka waha.
Observe with the eyes;
listen with the ears;
shut the mouth.
Thus one learns.
Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha.
There is life in a kindly reply.
Though one may have no gift
to offer to a friend,
a kind word or a friendly greeting
is just as important.
He kehau ho`oma`ema`e ke aloha.
Love is like a cleansing dew.
The cleansing power of aloha
can soothe and heal.
Hurt, pain, and suffering
yield to aloha’s healing power.
Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua.
Unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers.
where there is water,
as thriving people are found
where living conditions are good.
Mai ho`oni i ka wai lana mâlie.
Do not disturb the water that is tranquil.
Let the peaceful
enjoy their peace.
`A`ohe loa i ka hana a ke aloha.
Distance is ignored by love.
Hana `i`o ka haole!
The foreigner does it in earnest!
Hawaiians didn’t order people off their lands
or regard them as trespassers.
When the foreigners began to own lands,
people began to be arrested for trespassing
and lands were fenced in
to keep the Hawaiians out.
Ho`ola`i na manu i ke aheahe.
The birds poise quietly in the gentle breezes.
Said of those
who are at peace with the world,
undisturbed and contented.
Me he lau no ke Ko`olau ke aloha.
Love is like the ends (fingertips) of the Ko`olau breeze.
Love is like a zephyr–
gentle and invisible
but present nevertheless.
Ua ola loko i ke aloha.
Love gives life within.
Love is imperative to one’s
mental, physical, emotional
and spiritual welfare.
I ku ka makemake e hele mai,
hele no me ka malo`elo`e.
If the wish to come arises, walk firmly.
If you wish to come do not be hesitant,
for you are welcome.
He `ôpû hâlau.
A house-like stomach.
A heart as big as a house.
Said of a person who is
kind, gracious, and hospitable.
Mai `ena i ke kanaka i laka aku.
Do not shy away from a person who is attracted to you.
Treat a person who comes in kindness
Moloka`i pule o`o.
Moloka`i of the potent prayers.
Moloka`i is noted for its spirituality.