noun (1)
pu·​ka | \ ˈpükə\
plural -s

Definition of puka

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a rare New Zealand tree (Meryta sinclairii) of the family Araliaceae with large resinous leaves and dioecious flowers in panicles
2 : either of two New Zealand trees of the genus Griselinia that are sometimes epiphytic:
a : a tree (G. lucida) with long thick shining leaves and green or yellow flowers in axillary panicles
b : kapuka


noun (2)
\ "\
plural -s

Definition of puka (Entry 2 of 3)

: hole, tunnel if … I ever get the giant African snails out of their favorite pukas, I shall really enjoy the gardeningHonolulu Star-Bulletin


noun (3)
pu·​ka | \ ˈpükə\
plural -s

Definition of puka (Entry 3 of 3)

: a small usually perforated wave- and beach-polished shell fragment formed from the spire of a cone (genus Conus), found along beaches of Pacific Islands, and used especially to make necklaces

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.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of puka

Noun (3)

1975, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for puka

Noun (1)


Noun (2)


Noun (3)

puka shell, from Hawaiian puka hole + English shell

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about puka

Statistics for puka

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for puka

The first known use of puka was in 1975

See more words from the same year

Comments on puka

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!