Kākiʻo

n. Mange, impetigo, itch, itching pustules of the skin. (Kanl. 28.27.)

Today’s he momi may not be your most favorite Hawaiian word but it is one that, like yesterday’s word (hoʻomalimali) you may have heard a lot growing up.

Kākiʻo. Mange. Eeewwww.

Growing up, us small kids always had kākiʻo somewhere on our bodies, but the way it was used I always assumed it was synonymous with “owes” or scabs. “Kākiʻo leg,” “Eh, no pick your kākiʻos” were commonly heard around everybody’s house (and not only aimed towards me!). But it occurred to me just this past weekend as I saw someone with plenty kākiʻo that it is a word I don’t hear too often anymore. And the translation in the dictionary is far worse than what I assumed it to mean. Nevertheless, if I am correct in my assumption, its use is diminishing (or I am not hanging out with families whose kids get plenty kākiʻo). I say we all make every attempt to revive it! Tell your kid don’t run on the sidewalk or he might get kākiʻo if he fall. Or make your daughter wear long pants riding bicycle so she no get kākiʻo if she fall down (trust me on this one).

So, what is the word for owie? ʻEha works well. ʻEha means ache, pain, sore. Scab? Pāpaʻa. Yes. Pāpaʻa, like burnt or crispy. Same. Kinda looks the same, too huh?

E hoʻōla hou kākou i ka hua ʻōlelo kākiʻo – Let us revive the word kākiʻo.

Pilikia kona lima i ka nui kākiʻo Her arm is “troubled” by a lot of kākiʻo.

Copyright: 2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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