(in Hawaii) a native medicine man or priest.

Origin of kahuna

Borrowed into English from Hawaiian around 1885–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kahuna

Historical Examples of kahuna

Word Origin and History for kahuna

1886, in a report in English by the Hawaiian government, which defines the word as "doctor and sorcerer," from Hawaiian, where it was applied as well to priests and navigators. In surfer slang, for "a god of surfing," it is attested from 1962 (but big kahuna in same sense is said to date from 1950s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper