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Hawaii State Names (Etymology of Names)

Hawaii Name Etymology and State Nicknames

Hawaii

HI 3D MapHawaii is the most recent of the 50 U.S. states (joined the Union on August 21, 1959), and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii may been named for the traditional home of the Polynesians, Hawaii or Hawaiki, called "Owhyhee".

Hawaii nicknames

  • Aloha State  (1959 by the Legislature of the State)

  • Pineapple State

  • Youngest State

  • Paradise of the Pacific

  • Crossroads of the Pacific

  • Rainbow State

Hawaii Islands nicknames

  • Oahu – The Gathering Place
  • Hawaii – The Big Island
  • Maui – The Valley Isle
  • Kauai – The Garden Isle
  • Molokai – The Friendly Isle
  • Lanai – The Private Isle (was the Pineapple Isle)
  • Niihau – The Forbidden Isle
  • Kahoolawe – The Target Isle
 

Origin of Hawaii State Name

Uncertain. The islands may have been named by Hawaii Loa, their traditional discoverer. Or they may have been named after Hawaii or Hawaiki, the traditional home of the Polynesians.

The Hawaiian language word Hawai'i derives from Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, with the reconstructed meaning "homeland"; cognate words are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori (Hawaiki), Rarotongan ('Avaiki), and Samoan (Savai'i). (See also Hawaiki).

According to Pukui and Elbert, "Elsewhere in Polynesia, Hawai'i or a cognate is the name of the underworld or of the ancestral home, but in Hawai'i the name has no meaning."

Though Captain James Cook called the islands that he discovered in 1778 the Sandwich islands, this honor to the Earl of Sandwich would be short-lived. King Kamehameha I united the islands under his rule by 1819 as the Kingdom of Hawaii.

A couple of theories exist on the origin of the name Hawaii. One theory has it that the name comes from a combination of the words "Hawa" and "ii" and means a small or new homeland; "Hawa" meaning a traditional homeland and "ii" meaning small and raging. The other theory is that the name comes from the traditional discoverer of the islands, Hawaii Loa.

Hawaii Nicknames

Many of Hawaii's supporters call it Paradise of the Pacific, or Crossroads of the Pacific (although this is mostly associated with the city of Honolulu), and others call it the Pineapple State. But since 1959 a Polynesian greeting has given the state's official nickname (which also appears on license plates), The Aloha State.

Aloha State

Hawaii became officially known as the "Aloha State" by a 1959 legislative act. Haw. Rev. Stat. 5-7

Hawai`i Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 5, Section 5.7.

Volume 1.
CHAPTER 5. EMBLEMS AND SYMBOLS.
SECTION 5.7.

5-7 State popular name. The name "The Aloha State" is adopted, established, and designated as the official "popular" name for the State, to be effective so long as the legislature of the State does not otherwise provide. [L 1959, JR 1, 1; Supp, 14-5.1; HRS 5-7]

The Islands of Aloha

 But since 1959 a Polynesian greeting has given the state's official nickname (which also appears on license plates), The Aloha State. The Islands of Aloha  is the same derivative

Crossroads of the Pacific

Due to its location, "Crossroads of the Pacific" is a nickname shippers give to Hawaii.

The Youngest State

The last state to enter the union, Hawaii is sometimes referred to as "The Youngest State."

Pineapple State

Hawaii has also been referred to as "The Pineapple State" because of the pineapple industry and its impact on the state's economy.

Paradise of the Pacific

Anyone who has ever visited a secluded cove on one of the Hawaiian islands will understand why Hawaii is sometimes called the "Paradise of the Pacific." The natural beauty of the islands is well known.

The Islands Nicknames

  • Oahu – The Gathering Place
  • Hawaii – The Big Island
  • Maui – The Valley Isle
  • Kauai – The Garden Isle
  • Molokai – The Friendly Isle
  • Lanai – The Private Isle (was the Pineapple Isle)
  • Niihau – The Forbidden Isle
  • Kahoolawe – The Target Isle

 

Hawaii Slogans

  • The Islands of Aloha

Hawaii Postal Code

  • HI

Hawaii Resident's Name

  • Hawaiian - Official  (recommended by U.S. GPO)

  • Kamaāina (native-born nonethnic Hawaiian)  - Official, unofficial or informal alternates

  • Malihini (newcomer) - Official, unofficial or informal alternates

  • Islander (Hawaii Resident) - Official, unofficial or informal alternates

Hawai'i residents aren't referred to as "Hawaiian" unless they have aboriginal native blood. This differs from other states because of the ethnic identity and name of state being same.
State Names
State Names & Nicknames
The etymologies of some US state names are more obvious than others, derived from the Spanish or French tongue. Though, more than half of the US state names come from Native American tribal languages, with several still a mystery to scholars and historians.

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