Meaning of kanaka in English:



  • 1A native or inhabitant of Hawaii.

    ‘The formula endorsed by kanakas and haoles alike is to divide by two: A 6-foot island wave is about 12 feet high.’
    • ‘As the nineteenth century drew to a close, disputes arose between the Kanaka and those of foreign descent.’
  • 2 historical A Pacific Islander employed as an indentured labourer in Australia, especially in the sugar and cotton plantations of Queensland.

    ‘Kanakas had been aboard the first exploration and trading ships to reach the Pacific Northwest Coast.’
    • ‘During the late 1860s and early 1870s, "recruiters" ranged the South Seas in search of kanakas to work Queensland sugar and cotton plantations.’
    • ‘Concurrently several of us were off the map hanging with the kanakas out in the Sandwich Islands.’



/kəˈnakə/ /kəˈnɑːkə/


Hawaiian, literally ‘man’.