Monday, August 10, 2009


1. nvs. Swollen, distended; swelling; to swell; dropsy, edema. 2. n. A variety of sweet potato. 3. n. A kind of seaweed.

I remember whenever I was hāpai, unfailingly, my body, in one way or another, and sometimes from head to toe, would get all pehu, swollen. That is when I first learned the word, because really, we do not really learn something until it has some relevance or purpose to our own life, right? So, pehu I was. And the kumu at my keiki's school (Pūnana Leo at the time) told me to soak my feet in wāpine (lemongrass-another new word I learned and never forgot because of its immediate use) infused hot water. And any opportunity they had they would lomi my wāwae in an effort to get the fluids flowing properly. Love that kind of school.

Figuratively, pehu refers to one who is swollen with pride or conceit as well as one who is longing to eat or is hungry. In fact, someone who is REALLY hungry could be referred to as makapehu (swollen eyes, or eyes big with hunger).

Today I talked with two friends who are both experiencing bouts of gout. UGH! If you are local, chances are you know someone who has gout. Very painful. Thus the inspiration for today's He Momi because when I looked up the word for gout, guess what it is...

wāwae pehu - swollen foot/feet

Here are some other terms or sentences that use the word pehu:

Kai pehu - surging sea
Moaʻe pehu - a strong Moaʻe wind
Ua pehu kona lima i ka meli - Her hand was swollen because of the bee [sting].
E pehu ana kou ʻōpū - Your stomach is going to swell.

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