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ʻawa Pukui-Elbert, Haw to Eng,

1. n., The kava (Piper methysticum 🌐), a shrub 1.2 to 3.5 meters tall with green jointed stems and heart-shaped leaves, native to Pacific islands, the root being the source of a narcotic drink of the same name used in ceremonies (Neal 291), prepared formerly by chewing, later by pounding. The comminuted particles were mixed with water and strained. When drunk to excess it caused drowsiness and, rarely, scaliness of the skin and bloodshot eyes. Kava was also used medicinally.

  • Examples:
    • Kupu ʻawa (FS 57), to perform ceremony of offering kava to the gods [an unusual reference, as kava was not taken ceremonially, as in Samoa].
    • ʻAwa kau lāʻau, the tree-resting kava, growing in tree crotches and famous in poetry concerning Puna, Hawaiʻi.
  • References:
    • PPN kawa.

2. vs., Sour, bitter, poisonous.

  • Examples:
    • ʻAwa ka ʻupena, the net is sour [of a net into which fish will not enter].
    • ʻAwa ke au, how bitter the gall [a sour disposition].
  • References:
    • PPN kakawa, PCP kawa.

3. n., Cold mountain rain, fog, mist; to rain or mist. Figuratively, tragic misfortune or ordeal; in PH this word is preceded by ke and may refer to volcanic eruption: Uwē au, puni ʻā i ke ʻawa (PH 193), I weep, surrounded by lava in the downpour.

  • Examples:
    • ʻO ka uahi noe lehua, ʻo ke ʻawa nui i ka mauna (PH 205), the lehua mist smoke, the great outburst on the mountain.

4. n., A premature infant, believed caused by a “sour” condition of the mother.

5. n., A kind of bitter seaweed.

Tags: kava medicine Hawaiʻi rains health flora limu epithets preceded by ke

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ʻawa Pukui-Elbert, Eng to Haw,

See kava.

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