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 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 And Intel, the big chip kahuna, isn’t sitting idly by either. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Chipmaker Soap Opera, Equifax Credit Freezes, Blockchain Definitions," 10 Mar. 2018 The big kahuna of beer festivals in Oregon, and among the largest in the country, the Oregon Brewers Festivals is a must-visit for any beer lover. Samantha Bakall | The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "12 Oregon beer festivals you won't want to miss in 2018," 17 Jan. 2018 Porgy swim along the U.S. coast in large numbers, blissfully unknown to many American diners, while shrimp, tuna and salmon, often from thousands of miles away, remain the big kahunas. Deena Shanker, Bloomberg.com, "What Chefs Want You to Know About Your Fish," 5 Sep. 2017 As the story goes, the Lanai kahuna burned everything to keep his fire alight. Jackie Burrell, Orange County Register, "Off-roading on Lanai," 2 Feb. 2017 This is what my gut tells me, and Macworld’s Chris Breen thinks so, too: Apple isn’t going to let the nano steal the spotlight from its precious big-kahuna iPod that got all of this started. Brian X. Chen, WIRED, "GLab’s Guesses: What Will Show up at Apple’s iPod Party," 2 Sep. 2008

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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Time Traveler for kahuna

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The first known use of kahuna was in 1875

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Cite this Entry

“Kahuna.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kahuna. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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