ʻAlu/ʻAluʻalu

vi. Depression, gutter, ravine; lines of the hand, loose skin over the eyeball; tuck in a garment, shirring, ruffling; descent, as of trail or road; of low rank (Kep. 125); to bend, duck, hang, sag, slacken, stoop; to relax; to ruff, as a mat. Cf. pūʻalu.   hō.ʻalu To slacken, loosen, hang down, bend down, stoop; depression, slack. Kī hōʻalu, slack key. (PPN kalu.)

On Friay, our momi of the day was alu – to cooperate. Today’s momi (pearl), is ʻalu (with an ʻokina before it). What a difference an ʻokina makes. We go from cooperating to being a slack!

All ʻaluʻalu. That’s how I remember first learning this word. Imagine your tūtū’s soft skin of her arm, so loose. You can gently flick it with your finger and watch it go back and forth. So soft (can you tell this is a fond memory?. Or grab your tummy, it isn’t nice and firm like it was in your youth. You could store a baby in there. A 5 month old baby. There is that much room. But it is all soft and flabby (can you tell this is a NOT fond memory?). ʻAlu.

Or tuck your shirt in. And it is so tight in there you cannot even put your hands up. You have to ʻalu da buggah. Make it all loose so you can at least move around a bit. And unsuck your gut. ʻAlu!

Or you might know this word from the word for slack key guitar. Kīhōʻalu – Kī = key. hōʻalu=to slacken. And that is exactly what you are doing on your guitar when you play kīhōʻalu. You are slackening the keys. Very clever.

Hoʻonoho ʻalu to make tucks, shirring; tucker on a sewing machine.

Hoʻailona ʻalu tuck creaser, of a sewing machine.

Mea hana ʻalu – tucker.

Wela ka hao, ʻalu ka uwea – the iron is hot, bend the wire (now is the time for fun, a saying originating at the Honolulu Iron Works).

Ua ʻalu ihola ka paniolo e lālau i ka pūʻolo – the cowboy leaned down to pick up the package.

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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