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Looking for the Hawaiian word that means golden? You’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive article will provide everything you need to know about the Hawaiian term for the color gold.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Hawaiian word for golden is ʻulaʻula.

In this article, we’ll start by examining the origins and meaning behind ʻulaʻula. We’ll then look at how the word is used in Hawaiian culture and language. Some examples of ʻulaʻula in Hawaiian phrases will be provided. Finally, we’ll summarize the key points about this term.

Origins and Meaning of ʻUlaʻula

The Hawaiian word ʻulaʻula, pronounced “oo-lah-oo-lah,” is a term commonly used to describe the color golden. However, its origins and deeper meaning go beyond just its literal translation. Let’s explore the etymological roots and the literal and figurative definitions of this fascinating word.

Etymological Roots

The word ʻulaʻula originates from the Hawaiian language, which has a rich history and cultural significance in the Hawaiian Islands. In Hawaiian, ʻulaʻula is derived from the root word ʻula, which means red. The repetition of the word ʻula intensifies its meaning, emphasizing a deeper shade of red that is often associated with the color of ripe and golden fruits.

The Hawaiian language is known for its intricate vocabulary and nuances, and ʻulaʻula is a prime example of this complexity. It captures the essence of the color golden in a way that is unique to the Hawaiian culture and its natural surroundings.

Literal and Figurative Definitions

Literally, ʻulaʻula translates to “red-red” or “reddish.” However, its meaning expands beyond its literal translation. In Hawaiian culture, the color red is often associated with power, strength, and vitality. It represents the life force that flows through all living beings.

When applied to the color golden, ʻulaʻula takes on a metaphorical significance. It symbolizes the brilliance, radiance, and abundance that is often associated with the color gold. This can be seen in the shimmering golden sunsets over the Hawaiian Islands, the golden hues of the sandy beaches, and the vibrant colors of the tropical flora and fauna.

In Hawaiian mythology, the color golden is also associated with the gods and goddesses. It is believed to be a divine color that represents wealth, prosperity, and spiritual enlightenment. The use of the word ʻulaʻula in Hawaiian chants, songs, and cultural practices reflects the reverence and respect for this sacred color.

Usage of ʻUlaʻula in Hawaiian Language and Culture

The Hawaiian language is rich in vocabulary, with unique words that capture the essence of the islands’ natural beauty and cultural heritage. One such word is ʻulaʻula, which translates to “golden” in English. This word holds significant meaning in Hawaiian language and culture, and is used in various contexts to convey different aspects of life in Hawaii.

Color Symbolism

In Hawaiian culture, colors hold symbolic meanings and are deeply connected to the spiritual and natural world. The color ʻulaʻula, or golden, represents warmth, abundance, and prosperity. It is often associated with the sun, which has great importance in Hawaiian mythology and daily life. The vibrant golden hues of the Hawaiian sunset are a breathtaking sight, evoking a sense of awe and appreciation for the beauty of the islands.

The color ʻulaʻula is also associated with the goddess Pele, the deity of fire, volcanoes, and creation. Pele is often depicted as a fiery goddess with flowing golden hair, symbolizing her power and connection to the land. The golden color represents the transformative energy of Pele, as she brings forth new life through volcanic activity and shapes the landscape of Hawaii.

Everyday Usage

ʻUlaʻula is not only used in a symbolic context, but also in everyday conversations in Hawaii. It can be used to describe objects or natural elements that have a golden color, such as the feathers of the ʻōʻō bird or the golden sand on the beaches. The word ʻulaʻula can also be used to express admiration or praise for something or someone, similar to how we might use the word “golden” in English to describe something as excellent or valuable.

For example, if someone is an exceptional dancer, they might be described as “he maikaʻi ʻulaʻula,” meaning they are a truly golden dancer. Similarly, if someone has a heart of gold and is kind and generous, they might be referred to as “he kanaka ʻulaʻula,” a golden person.

The usage of ʻulaʻula in everyday conversations reflects the cultural values of Hawaii, where appreciation for beauty, excellence, and kindness is highly regarded. It serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing the golden qualities in ourselves and those around us.

Examples of ʻUlaʻula in Hawaiian Phrases

1. ʻUlaʻula I ka lani, ola ka honua

This Hawaiian phrase translates to “When the heavens are red, the earth lives.” It refers to the beautiful sight of a red or golden sunset, symbolizing the cycle of life. The word ʻulaʻula, meaning red or golden, represents the vibrant colors of the sky during sunset.

2. Ke kai ʻulaʻula

In this phrase, ʻulaʻula is used to describe the color of the ocean. Ke kai ʻulaʻula means “the red or golden sea.” It is often used to describe the stunning hues of the Hawaiian waters during sunrise or sunset.

3. Pua ʻulaʻula

Pua ʻulaʻula translates to “red or golden flower.” This phrase is used to describe a variety of flowers that have red or golden petals. In Hawaiian culture, flowers hold significant meaning and are often used to symbolize love, beauty, and spirituality.

4. ʻUlaʻula melemele

ʻUlaʻula melemele translates to “red or golden yellow.” This phrase is used to describe objects or things that have a reddish or golden yellow color. It can be used to describe anything from a sunset to a piece of artwork.

5. Ka hale ʻulaʻula

The phrase ka hale ʻulaʻula means “the red or golden house.” It is used to describe a house or dwelling that has a reddish or golden color. In Hawaiian culture, the color red is often associated with royalty and power.

These examples demonstrate the versatility and beauty of the word ʻulaʻula in Hawaiian phrases. It is a word that captures the vibrant colors of the Hawaiian landscape and reflects the deep connection between the people and their natural surroundings.

Key Takeaways About the Hawaiian Word for Golden

The Meaning and Origins

In the Hawaiian language, the word for golden is “kīlauea.” This word has deep roots in Hawaiian culture and carries significant cultural, historical, and spiritual meanings. The word “kīlauea” is often associated with the color gold, representing wealth, prosperity, and abundance.

Symbolism and Cultural Significance

In Hawaiian culture, the color gold is highly revered and carries symbolic meaning. It is often associated with the sun, which is considered a deity in Hawaiian mythology. The sun is believed to provide life-giving energy and is seen as a source of warmth, light, and vitality. Therefore, the word “kīlauea” not only represents the color gold but also encompasses the positive attributes associated with it.

Usage and Context

The word “kīlauea” can be used in various contexts and situations. It can describe physical objects that are golden in color, such as the golden sand beaches or golden sunsets that are abundant in Hawaii. It can also be used metaphorically to describe qualities or characteristics associated with gold, such as someone having a “golden heart” or possessing “golden talent.”

The Hawaiian Language and Culture

Hawaiian is an official language in Hawaii and is an integral part of the state’s cultural heritage. Preserving and revitalizing the Hawaiian language is of utmost importance to the Hawaiian people. By understanding and using Hawaiian words like “kīlauea,” we can not only appreciate the beauty and richness of the language but also honor and respect the Hawaiian culture.

To learn more about the Hawaiian language and its cultural significance, you can visit the official website of the Hawaiian Language Commission:


In conclusion, ʻulaʻula is the Hawaiian word meaning golden or gold-colored. This term has ancient origins related to gold and the sun. In Hawaiian culture, ʻulaʻula symbolizes royalty, divinity, and wealth. It is used in everyday Hawaiian speech to describe anything with a golden color. We hope this overview gave you a comprehensive understanding of the Hawaiian word ʻulaʻula and its meanings.

If you want to learn more Hawaiian terms for colors, be sure to check out some of our other articles on Hawaiian vocabulary and language.

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