hu·​la | \ ˈhü-lə How to pronounce hula (audio) \
variants: or less commonly hula-hula \ ˌhü-​lə-​ˈhü-​lə How to pronounce hula-hula (audio) \

Definition of hula

: a sinuous Polynesian dance characterized by rhythmic movement of the hips and mimetic gestures with the hands and often accompanied by chants and rhythmic drumming

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A sinuous Polynesian dance, the hula combines undulating movement of the hips and mimetic hand gestures. The dance is often accompanied by chants, drumming, and music played on instruments such as the ukulele. Originally a religious dance performed to praise the chiefs, contemporary hulas tell a story or describe a place, and are danced exclusively by women. The costume typically includes a raffia skirt with a lei (garland) around the neck.

Examples of hula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But that didn’t keep her from doing the hula at her birthday party. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, "101-year-old hula teacher spreads aloha spirit," 9 July 2019 From belly dancing and folk dances like the hula, cultures around the world use dance as a form of expression and entertainment. Detroit Free Press, "How dancing improves overall health," 1 July 2019 The tree is also associated with Laka, the goddess of hula, its flower used in leis for the traditional Hawaiian dance. NBC News, "Sacred Hawaiian tree species threatened by deadly fungus; tourists can help save it," 30 June 2019 In addition to musical acts, the festival will include workshops on guitar, fiddle, banjo, ukulele and mandolin, as well as dance instructors teaching hula, square dance, swing and two-step. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Taj Mahal & Peter Rowan to Headline Hawaii's Debut Kauai Folk Festival," 4 June 2019 Fads of the period such as hula hoops and transistor radios come in for special mention. Tom Titus,, "On Theater: ‘The Beat’ goes pro at Vanguard," 19 June 2019 Here’s to the LGBT first responders, the overtly accepting churches, the rugby teams, the hula hoop spinners and the Sirens, Fleurs, Cherry Bombs and all the marvelous Mardi Gras dance troupes. Doug Maccash,, "New Orleans’ Pride Parade 2019 was a glorious group hug," 9 June 2019 And when a friend at a dinner party said the hip-swinging motion reminded her of the hula dance, Anderson gave the ring its now-iconic name: The Hula Hoop. Pam Kragen,, "Carlsbad's 'Hula Girl' gives her spin on toy's history," 9 June 2018 Exploratorium, Pier 15, S.F. Halau Ha’a Kea o Kinohi Hawaiian hula dance and cultural performance. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Kids listings," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hula

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hula


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Dictionary Entries near hula






hula skirt


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Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for hula

The first known use of hula was in 1825

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English Language Learners Definition of hula

: a Hawaiian dance that has flowing hand and hip movements

More from Merriam-Webster on hula

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hula Encyclopedia article about hula

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