noun pa·hu \ˈpä-ˌhü\

Definition of pahu

  1. :  a sacred Polynesian drum having a slightly tapered wooden body with a carved openwork base and a sharkskin head stretched by ropes that is played with the hands The Hawaiian pahu (sharkskin drum) is both the oldest instrument on the islands and a symbol of the ancient links to Polynesia. — Simon Broughton and Mark Ellingham, World Music, 2000

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of pahu

borrowed from Hawaiian, Tahitian, or Marquesan pahu “drum,” going back to Central-Eastern Polynesian *pasu

First Known Use: 1829

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pahu? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to help become familiar with something

Get Word of the Day daily email!