wahine

noun
wa·​hi·​ne | \ wä-ˈhē-nē How to pronounce wahine (audio) , -(ˌ)nā \

Definition of wahine

1 : a Polynesian woman
2 : a female surfer

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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."

First Known Use of wahine

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wahine

Maori & Hawaiian, woman

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Cite this Entry

“Wahine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wahine. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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