Definition of tiki in English:



  • 1New Zealand A large wooden or small greenstone image of a human figure.

    • ‘A throwback to the Polynesian craze that swept North America in the '50s and '60s, the restaurant is full of Eastern Island statuettes, wooden tikis and a Hawaiian ukulele soundtrack.’
    • ‘No, what he felt for was the little smooth object sewn at the back of his silver fern, a greenstone tiki presented by the Maori people of Hawera.’
    • ‘Tipi wore a greenstone tiki around her neck that had been passed down through many generations.’
    • ‘When we see people wearing greenstone tiki or bones around their necks, we can laugh, but that is a way of giving the culture a status that means that it will actually survive.’
  • 2as modifier Denoting something that is imitative of objects or customs associated with the tropical islands of the South Pacific.

    ‘a tiki bar’
    ‘tiki huts’
    • ‘I think that I will build a tiki bar.’
    • ‘Back on the mainland, any travelling I did became a pretext for my on-going tiki bar pilgrimage.’
    • ‘Pete Moruzzi, a computer sales executive, built a tiki bar in his Southern California home in 1994.’
    • ‘Phoenix, Arizona even had a tiki motel, called the Kon Tiki.’
    • ‘In a thrift store I saw a tiki mug marked " Harvey's Sneaky Tiki, Lake Tahoe ".’
    • ‘The little kitsch Hawaii tiki milk jug from a garage sale for $1 last year.’
    • ‘At the Greenhouse tiki bar four rugged guys were talking about Harleys.’
    • ‘A collection of remixed tiki exotica really gets you straddling both sides of the fence.’
    • ‘They're always pushing cocktail culture on people, be it 30s style martini shakers, tiki culture, bachelor-pad barware.’
    • ‘Howard Shore creates a score that's wonderfully evocative of the 1950s, part sci-fi drive-in, part tiki lounge.’
    • ‘At the end of a gravel and asphalt yard is a tiki bar and a grill made from half an oil drum.’
    • ‘Add a few torches and now your tiki parties can be nearly authentic.’
    • ‘There are huge marinas and outdoor "tiki bars" and gourmet restaurants galore.’
    • ‘Lao Bay was an entertaining circus of activity the day we stopped in, with busloads of windsurfers camped out under tiki huts or on the white sand beach.’
    • ‘If you didn't make it out this weekend you have not seen the new stairway to the tiki bar.’
    • ‘The handmade felt scraps and plastic tiki brooches that my amazing friend liz helped me sew the night before sold for $8 each.’
    • ‘When I came back a year later, the tiki was no longer there.’
    • ‘I made my own little tiki ornaments and instead of tinsel I used leis. "’
    • ‘They look a bit like Hawaiian tiki lamps, which is not a bad association since they are installed right near the beach.’
    • ‘Most of today's tiki artists grew up in the shadow of tiki culture, surrounded by Polynesian-style apartments, hotels, restaurants and bars.’


Maori, literally ‘image’. tiki (sense 2 of the noun) represents an independent development, which first became widespread in the mid 20th century in the US tourist industry.