ka pai

/ ˌkə ˈpaɪ /

sentence substitute

  1. good! well done!
“Collins English Dictionary — Complete & Unabridged” 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Word History and Origins

Origin of ka pai1



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More About Ka Pai

What does ka pai mean?

Ka pai is a Māori exclamation that means well done or congratulations, as in You won the raceka pai! 

In Te Aka Māori, the language of the Māori people, ka pai is used as a congratulations. The term is normally used as an interjection or a sentence replacement. In English, you might say, “Congratulations!” or “Good job!”

Ka pai is also used sarcastically, as in Eli missed the train because he refuses to look at a clock. Ka pai. In this case, you might hear ka pai translated to mean “serves them right” or “they deserved it.” 

Example: We really enjoyed the show. Ka pai!

Where does ka pai come from?

The first records of the term ka pai in English come from around the 1830s. It is a Māori term meaning “good, fine.” Māori is the language of the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.

The Māori people are the native inhabitants of modern-day New Zealand. Their language, Te Aka Māori, started to fade in use and popularity with the arrival of white people. In the late 1900s, however, Te Aka Māori started to be taught and was recognized as an official language of New Zealand in 1987. Ka pai is one of the most frequently borrowed phrases from Te Aka Māori.

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What are some synonyms for ka pai?

What are some words that often get used in discussing ka pai?

How is ka pai used in real life?

In English, ka pai is almost always used informally and as an exclamation. 

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True or False?

Ka pai is from the Tagalog language.




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