Meaning of kahuna in English:


Pronunciation /kəˈhuːnə/


  • 1(in Hawaii) a wise man or shaman.

    ‘Indeed, a self-appointed kahuna, described a kahuna as a spiritual teacher who acts as a bridge between the spiritual and the material world and is also an expert in his field.’
    • ‘As a kahuna, she decided to prepare a multitude of students to share lomi lomi with the world.’
    • ‘And King Kalakaua was sent here by his kahuna in 1874 to purge himself before ascending the throne.’
    • ‘Likewise, the focus of the ancient Hawaiian kapu or law sought to focus on the relationships of kauwa not only with the kahuna and aliyi, but with all of the other groups.’
    • ‘You can also meet with a kahuna, a local expert who practices the ancient, rich tradition of using healing plants.’
    • ‘The native Hawaiian descendant of the last kahuna nui in Waimea had to mortgage and lease the land.’
    • ‘When someone died, the kahuna aumakau (priest of the appropriate ancestral deity) of the dead person came and ritually sacrificed a pig or a chicken to ensure that the soul would live with its ancestors.’
    • ‘‘Ask for your needs, not your wants,’ whispers the kahuna nui outside the entrance.’
    • ‘With time, that study may even reveal the nature of sacred lands, and tell us what powers were invested in the kahuna nui.’
    • ‘Hawaiian history was passed along orally through mele, or chants, by the kahunas, or high priests.’
    1. 1.1North American informal An important person; the person in charge.
      • ‘one big kahuna runs the whole show’
      • ‘For some reason, some of the big kahunas are distancing themselves from it…’
      • ‘They put it in this little teeny guy down there and missed the big kahuna,’ the big LAD down the center.’
      • ‘We're going to be looking at the top banana, the big kahuna, the cream of the crop.’
      • ‘Financial numbers are made to look good and stock values are manipulated so that the big kahunas get those juicy stock options.’
      • ‘Well, it looks like the big kahunas of contemporary literature have found a new cause.’
      • ‘Every other pitcher on the team steps aside to accommodate the big kahuna.’
      • ‘The big kahuna, though, was getting a tour of the hotel.’
      • ‘Bucks kahuna George Karl always has been one of the league's grumpiest coaches, hut even he had been feeling a bit bluer than usual lately, suffering from a lack of fulfillment at work that dales back about a year.’
      famous person, VIP, very important person, personality, name, big name, famous name, household name, star, superstar, celebutante, leading light, giant, great, master, guru
    2. 1.2North American informal (in surfing) a very large wave.
      wave, breaker, roller, comber, billow