[kuh-nak-uh, -nah-kuh, kan-uh-kuh]

noun (sometimes initial capital letter)

a native Hawaiian.
a South Sea islander.

Origin of kanaka

< Hawaiian: person
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kanaka

Historical Examples of kanaka

British Dictionary definitions for kanaka



(esp in Hawaii) a native Hawaiian
(often not capital) Australian any native of the South Pacific islands, esp (formerly) one abducted to work in Australia

Word Origin for Kanaka

C19: from Hawaiian: man, human being
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

Word Origin and History for kanaka

U.S. nautical and Australian name for "native of South Sea islands," 1840, from Hawaiian kanaka "man" (Samoan tangata).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper