Friday, October 9, 2009


1. earthquake, tremor. 
2. light porous stone or pumice, as used for polishing canoes or for scraping off hair of pig or dog to be roasted.

In light of the ōlaʻi that have taken place in the Pacific Ocean recently, perhaps you can find some use of today's word in your daily practice.  Ōlaʻi (with a macron over the o for stress) is an old word, as ōlaʻi are not a new phenomenon to Hawaiians.  Many ōlaʻi occur in our islands, particularly because of the activity generated by the still active volcano on Hawai'i Island.  I find it particularly interesting this word has a smaller word in it, la'i, that actually means calm or peaceful.  Perhaps this refers to the calmness that follows an earthquake, when you experience it.  I'm only speculating and using this connection as a tool to help me better remember the ōlaʻi.  As we make connections to certain words, that's how we remember them, right?

Ōla'i ikaika loa i 'ike 'ole 'ia kona lua - very strong earthquake, the like of which had never been seen before.

Halulu ka honua i ka ōla'i ē - The earth resounds because of the earthquake (from a chant by Edith Kanaka'ole)

Nei ka honua, he ōlaʻi ia
When the earth trembles, it is an earthquake.
(We know what it is by what it does)

Ua loa'a ʻelua ōla'i ma Vanuatu i kēia pule. - There were two earthquakes in Vanuatu this week.

Aia ke ōlaʻi ma Indonesia. - The earthquake was in Indonesia.

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