wahine

noun
wa·​hi·​ne | \wä-ˈhē-nē, -(ˌ)nā\

Definition of wahine 

1 : a Polynesian woman

2 : a female surfer

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."

First Known Use of wahine

1773, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wahine

Maori & Hawaiian, woman

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wahine

Listen to Our Podcast about wahine

Dictionary Entries near wahine

Wagyu

wah

Wahhabi

wahine

Wahlenbergia

wahoo

Wahpekute

Statistics for wahine

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wahine

The first known use of wahine was in 1773

See more words from the same year

Comments on wahine

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

WORD OF THE DAY

full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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