1. nvs. Swollen, distended; swelling; to swell; dropsy, edema. 2. n. A variety of sweet potato. 3. n. A kind of seaweed
I remember whenever I was hāpai, unfailingly, my body, in one way or another, and sometimes from head to toe, would get all pehu, all swollen. That’s when I first learned the word, because, really, we don’t really learn something until it has some relevance or purpose in your own life. So, pehu I was. And the kumu at my keiki’s school (Pūnana Leo) told me to soak my feet in wāpine (lemongrass—another new word I learned and never forgot because of its immediate use) infused hot water. And any opportunity they had they would lomi my body in an effort to get the fluids flowing properly.
Figuratively, pehu refers to one who is swollen with pride or conceit as well as on who is longing to eat or is hungry. In fact, someone who was REALLY hungry could be referred to as makapehu (swollen eyes, or eyes big with hunger).
Today I talked with two friends who were both experiencing bouts with gout. If you are local, chances are you know someone with gout. Very painful. Thus the inspiration for this week’s He Momi because when I looked up the word for gout, guess what it is…
Wāwae pehu – swollen feet/foot
Here are some other terms or sentences that use the word pehu:
Kai pehu – surging sea
Moaʻe pehu – a strong Moaʻe wind
Ua pehu kona lima i ka meli – Her hand was swollen because of the bee.
E pehu ana kou ʻōpū – Your stomach is going to swell.
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.