Part of speech: exclamation
Origin: 19th century, Hawaiian
(mainly in Hawaii) used to express gratitude.
Examples of Mahalo in a sentence
"The woman handed me a lei, and I said “mahalo.”"
"My aunt expressed her mahalo at the beauty of the world to which she woke every morning."
Popularity Over Time
“Mahalo” appeared in English for the first time in American missionary Lorrin Andrews’s 1865 English-Hawaiian dictionary. In modern use, “mahalo” is frequently used as a Hawaiian stand-in for “thanks,” though prior to contact with Europeans, Hawaiians had no specific equivalent term for “thank you.”
Did you Know?
The Hawaiian “mahalo” is believed to be derived from the proto-Polynesian word “masalo,” and both express a form of significant gratitude more firmly rooted in the culture than simply saying “thank you.” In fact, using “mahalo” to mean “thank you” is a modern innovation: in its original form, “mahalo” is more of a statement about one’s gratitude for being alive, and to other people and the natural world for coexisting alongside one.