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The Hawaiian language is full of colorful and descriptive words that often have multiple meanings. Lolo is one such word that has several definitions depending on the context. If you’ve heard lolo used and wondered exactly what it means, this article will examine the origins and definitions of this versatile Hawaiian word.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Lolo is a Hawaiian word with meanings that range from “crazy” or “foolish” to “weak” or “feeble-minded.” It can be used as a noun or adjective. The word’s meanings hint at mental deficiencies.

In this comprehensive guide, we will look at:

The Origins and Literal Meaning of Lolo

Have you ever wondered what the word “Lolo” means in Hawaiian? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll explore the origins and literal meaning of this intriguing Hawaiian term.

Lolo as “Foolish” or “Crazy”

In Hawaiian, the word “lolo” is often used to describe someone who is foolish or crazy. It is a playful insult that is commonly used among friends or in a light-hearted manner.

While it may sound negative, it is important to note that in Hawaiian culture, teasing and joking with friends is seen as a sign of camaraderie and affection.

So, if someone calls you “lolo,” it’s likely that they are just poking fun at you in a friendly way. 

A Playful Insult Among Friends

When Hawaiians refer to someone as “lolo,” it is usually done in a playful and affectionate manner. It is similar to calling someone a “fool” or “crazy” in English, but with a more light-hearted tone.

It’s a way for friends to bond and share a laugh together. So, if you hear someone using the term “lolo” towards you, don’t take it too seriously. It’s all in good fun! 

Describing Illogical Behavior

In addition to being used as a playful insult, “lolo” is also used to describe illogical or nonsensical behavior. If someone does something that seems irrational or foolish, they may be referred to as “lolo.”

It’s a way of highlighting their actions as being outside the realm of reason. However, it’s important to remember that this term is not meant to be derogatory or offensive, but rather a lighthearted way of pointing out someone’s unusual behavior. 

Calling Someone “Lolo Head”

Another variation of the term “lolo” is “lolo head.” This is a slightly stronger version of the insult, but it is still used in a playful manner. Calling someone a “lolo head” implies that they are not only foolish or crazy, but also have a tendency to make poor decisions.

It’s a way of teasing someone about their perceived lack of common sense. Just remember, it’s all in good fun and not meant to be taken too seriously. 

Lolo as “Weak” or “Disabled”

In Hawaiian, the word “lolo” is often used to describe someone who is physically weak or disabled. It is important to note that this usage of the word carries a negative connotation and can be considered derogatory or offensive.

Understanding the historical context and impact of such language is crucial in fostering a more inclusive and respectful society.

Referring to Physical Weakness

When “lolo” is used to refer to physical weakness, it implies that a person lacks strength or stamina. This can be seen as a form of ableism, which discriminates against individuals with disabilities and perpetuates harmful stereotypes.

It is important to remember that physical abilities vary widely among individuals, and using derogatory terms like “lolo” to describe someone’s physical condition is hurtful and disrespectful.

Implying Intellectual Disability

Another meaning associated with the term “lolo” in Hawaiian culture is that it implies intellectual disability.

Using this term to describe someone’s cognitive abilities is not only insensitive but also perpetuates harmful stereotypes about individuals with intellectual disabilities.

It is crucial to treat everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of their cognitive abilities or any other aspect of their identity.

An Ableist Slur

The use of “lolo” as a derogatory term is considered an ableist slur. Ableism refers to discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities. Using ableist slurs like “lolo” not only marginalizes people with disabilities but also contributes to a culture of exclusion and inequality.

It is important to promote language that is inclusive and respectful, avoiding terms that perpetuate stereotypes and stigmatize individuals based on their abilities.

For more information on promoting inclusivity and understanding the impact of language, you can visit websites such as or

Using Lolo in a Sentence

When it comes to understanding Hawaiian culture and language, it’s important to learn the meaning and usage of the word “lolo.” In Hawaiian, “lolo” can be used as both an adjective and a noun. Let’s explore how this versatile word is used in different contexts.

As an Adjective or Noun

As an adjective, “lolo” is often used to describe someone who is silly, foolish, or acting in a nonsensical manner.

For example, you might say, “He’s acting so lolo today, always making silly jokes.” It can also be used to describe something that is chaotic or disorganized. For instance, “The room was a lolo mess after the party.”

As a noun, “lolo” refers to a person who is perceived as being mentally challenged or having a lower level of intelligence. However, it’s important to note that the word is generally used in a light-hearted and affectionate manner within the Hawaiian community. It is not intended to be derogatory or offensive.

Common Phrases and Expressions

There are several common phrases and expressions that incorporate the word “lolo” in Hawaiian. One of the most well-known is “lolo haole,” which refers to a non-Hawaiian person who may not fully understand or appreciate Hawaiian culture. It’s important to use this term respectfully and with cultural sensitivity.

Another popular phrase is “no lolo,” which translates to “no worries” or “no problem.” This phrase is often used to convey a sense of relaxation and a laid-back attitude, reflecting the Hawaiian spirit of aloha.

Also read: Being A Haole In Hawaii

Regional Differences in Usage

It’s worth noting that the usage of “lolo” can vary slightly depending on the region within Hawaii. While the general meanings and connotations remain the same, there may be regional variations in pronunciation or colloquial usage.

To fully understand and appreciate the nuances of “lolo,” it’s best to engage with the local Hawaiian community and learn from their experiences.

For more information about Hawaiian language and culture, you can visit the Explore the rich history and traditions of the Hawaiian people to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning behind words like “lolo.”

Similar Words and Related Terms

In addition to “lolo,” the Hawaiian language has several other words that are related or similar in meaning. Let’s explore a few of them:

Oloolo – More Intensely Foolish

The word “oloolo” is often used to describe someone who is even more foolish than the average “lolo” person. It conveys a sense of extreme foolishness or silliness.

For example, if someone does something incredibly foolish, you might say, “Wow, that was oloolo!” It’s a way of emphasizing just how foolish their actions were.

Lolona – To Pretend to be Lolo

“Lolona” is a verb that means “to pretend to be lolo.” It is used when someone is acting foolishly or doing something silly for fun or entertainment purposes.

For instance, if a friend starts dancing in a silly manner at a party, you could say, “They’re just lolona-ing around.” It’s a light-hearted term that acknowledges the playful nature of someone’s actions.

Haole – Foolish Foreigner

The term “haole” is often used to refer to a non-Hawaiian or a foreigner. While it doesn’t necessarily mean “foolish,” it can sometimes carry that connotation.

In certain contexts, it may be used to describe someone who is perceived as ignorant or lacking understanding of Hawaiian culture or customs.

However, it’s important to note that “haole” can be a sensitive term, and its meaning can vary depending on the context and intent of the speaker.

Also read: What Is Loco Moco? The Iconic Hawaiian Dish Explained


As we’ve seen, lolo is a versatile Hawaiian word with meanings that range from playful joking to derogatory slurs. But it’s also important to understand the ableist undertones of using lolo to imply disability.

With its multiple nuanced meanings, lolo is truly an Hawaiian word that defies easy translation. This guide covers the origins, definitions and proper usage of lolo to understand this colorful term in the context of Hawaiian language and culture. Next time you hear lolo, you’ll know exactly what meaning is intended.

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