Nalu most commonly refers to the waves or surf of the moana, the ocean. It’s also a verb, showing the state of waves… Ke nalu nei ka moana, The ocean is full of waves.

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Nalu carries more poetic, less obvious meanings, however.

In keeping with the concept of water and liquid, nalu is the amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects an unborn child.

To nalu is to mediate, ponder, contemplate. For some reason, the water imagery personally works well with this word, such as the tranquility created by the repetitive flow of waves. Or it’s the antithesis of the idea of waves itself, water free of waves, so calm and still that we can contemplate what is below… or a mind free of the waves of thought and mental disturbance.

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from → ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i / Hawaiian Language
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