wahine

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noun wa·hi·ne \ wä-ˈhē-nē , -(ˌ)nā \

Definition of wahine

1 :a Polynesian woman
2 :a female surfer

wahine was our Word of the Day on 07/08/2008. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

The word wahine came into English in the late 18th century from Maori, the language of a Polynesian people native to New Zealand; it was originally used for a Maori woman, especially a wife. The word is also used for a woman in Hawaiian and Tahitian, though spelled "vahine" in the latter. Enormous waves, which are perfect for surfing, are an attraction of the Polynesian islands. As the surfing culture solidified in the mid-20th century, and as more and more girls and women grabbed their boards, "wahine" took on the new meaning of "female surfer."

Origin and Etymology of wahine

Maori & Hawaiian, woman

Other Anthropology Terms


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