Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

The tropical paradise of Maui is a dream destination for many travelers. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and incredible sights, it’s no wonder Maui is high on so many bucket lists.

But before you embark on your Hawaiian getaway, you’ll want to make sure you know how to properly pronounce the island’s name.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Maui is pronounced “mow-ee”. The emphasis is on the first syllable, with a long “ow” sound.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to pronounce Maui like a local. We’ll cover the origin and meaning behind the name, provide audio examples of the correct pronunciation, break down the syllables, examine common mispronunciations to avoid, and give tips for perfecting your Maui pronunciation.

The History and Meaning Behind the Name Maui

Maui, a beautiful island in Hawaii, has a rich history and a name that carries significant meaning. The name “Maui” was derived from Hawaiian mythology, specifically from the demigod named Maui. In Hawaiian legends, Maui was known as a mischievous and clever demigod who possessed incredible powers.

Maui was named after a demigod in Hawaiian mythology

Maui a demigod in Hawaiian mythology

The name “Maui” holds a special place in Hawaiian culture and folklore. It is believed that the island was named after the legendary demigod Maui, who was known for his extraordinary feats.

According to Hawaiian mythology, Maui was responsible for creating the Hawaiian Islands by using his magical fishhook to pull them up from the ocean floor.

The stories of Maui’s adventures and exploits have been passed down through generations, and his name has become synonymous with the island. The name “Maui” represents the spirit of adventure, strength, and resilience that the demigod embodied.

Maui has multiple spellings and meanings

Interestingly, the name “Maui” can be spelled in different ways and carries multiple meanings. In the Hawaiian language, “Maui” is spelled as “Maui,” but it can also be spelled as “Mau’i” or “Mawi”. These variations in spelling do not change the overall meaning of the name but add to the diversity and richness of the Hawaiian language.

Furthermore, the name “Maui” is not only associated with the demigod in Hawaiian mythology but also has different meanings in other languages. For example, in the Maori language of New Zealand, “Maui” refers to a legendary figure who is known as a trickster and a hero.

Audio Examples of Proper Maui Pronunciation

Hear Maui pronounced by native Hawaiian speakers

One of the best ways to learn how to pronounce Maui correctly is by listening to native Hawaiian speakers. They have grown up with the language and can provide the most accurate pronunciation.

Fortunately, there are various resources available online where you can find audio recordings of native speakers pronouncing Maui. For example, you can visit the official website of the Hawaiian Language Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, which offers audio recordings of common Hawaiian words and place names, including Maui.

Listening to these audio examples will help you understand the unique sounds of the Hawaiian language and how to properly pronounce Maui.

Listen for the emphasis on the first syllable

When pronouncing Maui, it is important to note that the emphasis is placed on the first syllable. The first syllable is pronounced as “mow”, like the sound a cow makes, followed by “ee” like the letter “e”. So, when saying Maui, it should sound like “mow-ee”.

Remember to give a slight pause between the two syllables to ensure clarity in your pronunciation. It might take some practice to get it right, but with time and patience, you’ll be able to pronounce Maui correctly.

🎉 Fun Fact: Did you know that Maui is not only the name of the second largest Hawaiian island but also the name of a demigod in Hawaiian mythology?

He is known as a mischievous trickster and a shape-shifter who performed many legendary feats. So, when you pronounce Maui, you’re not only saying a place name but also paying homage to a fascinating character from Hawaiian folklore! 😊

Breaking Down the Syllables of Maui

Maui syllables

The first syllable is lengthened and stressed

When saying “Maui,” it’s important to note that the first syllable is not only pronounced as “mow,” but it is also lengthened and stressed. This means that you should emphasize the “mow” sound and hold it for a slightly longer duration compared to the second syllable. This is a key aspect of correctly pronouncing the name “Maui.”

Common Mispronunciations to Avoid

Maui, the beautiful Hawaiian island known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant culture, is often mispronounced by visitors. To ensure you pronounce Maui correctly and show respect to the local community, it’s essential to avoid these common mispronunciations:


One of the most common mispronunciations of Maui is “Mow-eye.” While it may seem like a logical way to pronounce the name, it is incorrect. The correct pronunciation is “mau-ee” with the emphasis on the first syllable.

Remember, it’s not “Mow-eye,” but rather “mau-ee” – a subtle but important distinction. By pronouncing it correctly, you’ll demonstrate your knowledge and appreciation for the local culture.


Another common mispronunciation is “Mah-oo-ee,” with the emphasis on the second syllable. While this pronunciation may feel more natural to some, it is still not the correct way to say Maui.

To pronounce Maui accurately, remember to emphasize the first syllable, as in “mau-ee.” It’s a simple adjustment that will make a significant difference in how you are perceived by the locals.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask a local for guidance on the correct pronunciation. They will appreciate your efforts to learn and respect their language.

For more information on Hawaiian pronunciations, you can visit, a website dedicated to promoting the correct pronunciation of Hawaiian words and phrases.

Tips for Perfecting Your Maui Pronunciation

Maui, a beautiful island in Hawaii, has a unique pronunciation that can sometimes be a challenge for non-native speakers. However, with a little practice and exposure to native speakers, you can master the correct way to pronounce Maui. Here are some helpful tips to perfect your Maui pronunciation:

Practice saying it out loud

Repetition is key when it comes to perfecting your Maui pronunciation. Start by breaking the word down into smaller syllables – “ma” and “ui”.

Practice saying each syllable slowly and then gradually speed up your pronunciation. Pay attention to the vowel sounds and make sure you are pronouncing them correctly. For example, the “a” in “Maui” is pronounced like the “ah” sound in “father”.

Additionally, try recording yourself saying the word and listen back to it. This can help you identify any areas where you may need improvement and allow you to make necessary adjustments.

Listen to native speakers

One of the best ways to improve your Maui pronunciation is by listening to native speakers. Expose yourself to authentic audio recordings, videos, or even visit Maui if possible. By listening to how native speakers pronounce the word, you can mimic their intonation and rhythm. This can greatly enhance your ability to pronounce Maui accurately.

There are various online resources available where you can find audio recordings of native speakers pronouncing Maui. For example, you can visit the Hawaiian Words website, which provides audio clips and phonetic transcriptions to help you grasp the correct pronunciation.

Remember, learning to pronounce Maui correctly takes time and practice. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come naturally at first. Keep practicing, listening to native speakers, and soon you’ll be able to confidently say “Maui” like a local!


With its fascinating history and distinct two syllable pronunciation, Maui is a beautiful word that echoes the lush, volcanic island itself. By mastering the proper “mow-ee” pronunciation and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll be ready to blend right in with the locals on your Hawaiian vacation.

The next time someone asks you how to say Maui, you’ll have the knowledge to confidently share the correct pronunciation – and maybe even a few fascinating facts about its origins. So get ready to let that tropical “mow-ee” roll off your tongue!

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts