ka·​hu·​na | \ kə-ˈhü-nə How to pronounce kahuna (audio) \

Definition of kahuna

1 : a preeminent person or thing : big gun the industry's big kahuna, with … 57 percent of the market— A. E. Serwer
2 : a Hawaiian shaman

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Examples of kahuna in a Sentence

a big kahuna at a Hollywood talent agency, he's got the fancy car to prove it
Recent Examples on the Web But the big kahuna is $436 billion for state, local, territorial and tribal governments. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Pelosi Tries to Settle for $2.2 Trillion," 29 Sep. 2020 While there are other area codes that service Houston, 713 will always be the big kahuna around these parts. Sonia Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "It's 713 Day in H-Town, so let's celebrate a few things that Houston is known for," 13 July 2020 The big kahuna—the Honda PowerBoss—tops out at a whopping 3100 PSI, which should be strong enough for any home job. Popular Science, "Power washers to transform your home, deck, driveway, and more," 29 May 2020 The local health care community is bracing for what Providence, the big kahuna of local hospital operators, will do. oregonlive, "In midst of pandemic, Oregon hospitals cut workers’ pay, require furloughs," 8 May 2020 The big kahuna option is the carbon fiber track package. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Snakes alive! Shelby GT500 is the ultimate Mustang," 14 Apr. 2020 The orphan sounded the alarm as soon as the apparition materialized, just as the kahuna had instructed. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "How to Save a Dying Language," 9 Dec. 2019 Fumble record ends Oregon State still has a chance at an NCAA record, but the big kahuna was lost when Artavis Pierce lost a fumble during the third quarter. oregonlive, "Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith now solidly in Pac-12 coach of the year discussion: 10 takeaways from the Beavers’ 35-34 win over Arizona State," 17 Nov. 2019 The big kahuna obviously is Walton, a walking, talking eccentric who specializes in throwing out a non sequitur or two during the heat of a game. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Jason Benetti isn’t sure what Bill Walton will bring to the White Sox telecast, but ‘I’m not going to have the media-room brownies’," 14 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kahuna.' 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 kahuna

1875, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for kahuna


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Cite this Entry

“Kahuna.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kahuna. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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