Kanaka(redirected from Kanakas)
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Ka·na·kaalso ka·na·ka (kə-nä′kə, -năk′ə)
1. Hawaii A Hawaiian of Polynesian ancestry; a Native Hawaiian. Often used disparagingly.
2. Australian & New Zealand A South Sea Islander, especially one brought to Australia as a laborer in the 1800s and 1900s. Often used disparagingly.
[Hawaiian, human being, Kanaka.]
Usage Note: The word Kanaka simply means "human being" in the Hawaiian language. When borrowed into English, however, it was naturally used in referring not to people in general but rather to Hawaiians of Polynesian ancestry, or more broadly, to any Polynesian person. Since this usage has often been perceived, and has sometimes been intended, as derogatory, Kanaka is best avoided by outsiders. Among Native Hawaiians, however, it is often used today as a term of ethnic pride, especially in the form Kanaka Maoli, a traditional Hawaiian ethnonym which can be translated as "true human being" or "real person."
1. (Peoples) (esp in Hawaii) a native Hawaiian
2. (often not capital) Austral any native of the South Pacific islands, esp (formerly) one abducted to work in Australia
[C19: from Hawaiian: man, human being]
Ka•nak•a(kəˈnæk ə, -ˈnɑ kə, ˈkæn ə kə)
n., pl. -nak•as. (sometimes l.c.)
2. (esp. formerly) a member of any people indigenous to the islands of the S Pacific.
[< Hawaiian: person]
A Hawaiian word meaning human being, used to mean a Hawaiian of Polynesian descent.