M Dictionary




1.[preposition, accompaniment]  with.  A Sina ma Puna ni olo ki te puina, ‘Sina and Puna went to the puina‘.

2.[preposition, separation]  from.  Sikaiana e mmao ma Luaniua, ‘Sikaiana is far away from Luaniua’.

3.[preposition, comparison]  than.  Te hale nei e naniu ake ma te hale laa, ‘this house is larger than that house’.


maa #1

[nf]  a fish species.


maa #2

(from? PPN ^maa ‘shame’).

[no]  a person’s same generation in‑laws; everyone spouse calls taina or kave; anyone who is a married to a taina or kave.  (A respect relationship).  Some speakers generalize this term to include all in‑laws, regardless of generation.

sa: hunaona.

do: haimaa <in the relationship of same generation in‑law>.


maa #3

(from PPN ^ma’a).

[vs]  white; te tama maa, ‘white person or European’.

ca: hakamaa,

pl: mmaa.


mmae #1 (mamae)

(from PPN ^mae).

[vs]  to shrivel and wither, as the dying leaves of a plant.


mmae #2 (mamae)

[n]  an urinary tract infection.


mae ko

[conjunction]  because.



[no]  very heavy rope.

sa: luhaluha, tupe #1.



[vs]  to be cracked or split, of earth.  Unsuitable for planting.



(from haa ‘split’).

[vs]  to be chopped, split, broken.

tr: haa,

ps: vaasia.


mahaa te ata

[n, time]  a stage in the sequence of the sunrise when the sun’s light reappears after a temporary darkness.

wh: ata #1.


mmaha (mamaha)

(from PPN ^mamafa).

[vs]  to be heavy, of weight.

opp: maamaa #2.

tr: hakammaha <to add on weight; to weigh>,

ps: mahatia <to be made heavy by another object>.



[vi]  to hatch, of eggs.

ot: mahaa.



[vs]  to be broken off, as the branches from a tree or the handle from a cup.



[n]  a prayer form sung during the teika lle when parts of the fish were carried to the ritual house {hale aitu} for burning, and sung later when the head of the fish was carried from Talaniu to a ceremonial house {Te Laoa, Talihaki}.  (PCR).

sa: teika lle.

ca: hakamahamaha <to recite the mahamaha>,

do: tau mahamaha <to recite the mahamaha>.



(from hhana ‘separate’).

1.[vs]  to be pulled out.

2.[vs]  to be separated in time or distance. Maatou e too na tama te laa e mahhana ma kimaatou, ‘we adopt children from relatives who are distant from us’.

For both senses:

tr: hhana,

pl: mahhana.



(from PPN ^mafana).

[vs]  to be warm, of a liquid.

tr: hakamaahana.


maahani (maasani)

1.[vi]  to rise up, to stand up.

tr: hakamaahani <to raise up, to cause to stand up>,

cp: hakamaahanilia.

2.[vs]  a curve in the shape of a canoe that rises up too sharply; a pandanus mat {vasa} that does not lie down flat, but is curved upwards, considered defective.



[vi]  to sneeze.

ps: mahetualia <to be forced out of the nose by sneezing, of something caught in the nose>.



1.[no]  strength, power, authority; te misoni e isi tona mahi, ‘the mission (Christianity) has its power’.

do: haimahi.

2.[vq]  very; te tama laa ku loto mahi, ‘that person is very angry’.

sa: haeko #2.



1.[vi]  to breathe.


2.[no]  breath.



[v]  to have a feeling or compulsion to do something or see someone.  Te hakateletele ni maahiti i toku manava ki hano ki Honiara, ‘I felt compelled to go to Honiara’.

rt: ?hitiake.



[vs]  to be inclined or inspired; to be active.



[vi]  to come directly, of speech; te talatala naa ni mahoa i tona pukua, ‘that narrative came straight from his mouth’.



[vs]  to be bald headed.  (Often demeaning).



(from PPN ^mafola).

1.[vs]  to be flattened; to be smooth, without wrinkles.

tr: hhola,

pl: mahhola.


2.[vs]  to be true or insightful, of speech.



[vs]  to be a halo of light, as a light source that shines around another object.



[np]  an earthquake.



[vi]  to spread out, disperse, flee.



(from PPN ^mai).

1. [direction marker, follows verb]  hither, towards the speaker; haele mai, ‘walk towards me’; haimai, ‘tell me’; kaumai, ‘bring me’.

sa: iho, atu#1, ake.

2.[exclamation] come!


mai ia

1.[conjunction] because, on account of.



[vs]  to be starting to ripen, but not quite ripe; of pandanus {hala, paku} and papaya {papai}.



(from PPN ^maile).

[nf]  a type of fern (Polypodiaceae?), used for fertilizing the cultivated swamp gardens {taluano} and for fragrance.


maile vai

[nf]  a species of fern that only grows in swamps.



(from ili ‘to fan’).

[vi]  to be a soft breeze; of an area, to have a soft breeze.



[vs]  to glow around an object, to illuminate indirectly as when some obstacle blocks the source of light, but reflected light shines from the light source.



(from PPN ^maka).

[na]  a sling, for a sling shot.


makka (makaka)

[vs]  to be tight, taut, strained, as a fishing line that is being pulled in.

tr: hakamakka,

ps: makkatia.



(from PPN ^makalili).

[vs]  to be shivering, to have a fever with chills as from malaria or influenza.



[vs]  to be cold, of humans, as when at sea for too long.



[vi]  for something to pass quickly in and out of sight. Heaa ni makalo mai?, ‘what passed in and out of sight quickly?’.


makkatau (makakatau)

[vs]  to be hard, to be very firm.



[vp]  to maliciously harm another person or project through speech or action.

ps: makemakeaalia.



(from Eng ‘market’).

[np]  a market.



(from PPN ^maki).

[no]  a disease or sickness.


maki namu

(from namu ‘mosquito’).

[no]  malaria.


maki unu

(from? unu, ‘drink’).

[no]  a generic term for several chronic dehabilitating diseases:

tuberculosis, diabetes.



(from PPN ^kila).

[vs]  to sparkle, reflect, as a fish under water when seen from the surface.



(from PPN ^mako).

[nao]  a song with dancing actions.  Types of songs with actions are:  siva, naha, tuki#1, sau#2, sua`mele, mako hakatahhao, mako o te henua.  Sometimes extended to mean any song that is sung.

sa: mako hatu.


mako hakatahhao

[na]  a group of songs that are sung simply for fun, have little meaning and are highly repetitious.

ge: mako.


mako hakatanitani

[nao]  a love song.

ge: mako hatu.


mako hatu

[nao]  composed or written songs, as opposed to other songs that have been taught by tradition.  Composed song types include: siva, sau, tuki, tani, olioli, saka, mako kitaa, mako hakatanitani.  Most traditional song composition includes the following kinds of verses: mua, akoako, liaki, tutalua, tualua, hhati, haopuku, puku.

sa: mako.


mako kitaa

[nao] songs composed for the guitar which generally use western or contempary neo‑Polynesian tunes.

ge: mako.


mako o te henua

[n]  a group of songs that are not from Sikaiana but were brought from other Polynesian speaking islands including Taumako and Pileni. Most words of these songs are not understood.
Listen to 3 mako o te henua.

ge: mako.



(from kkolu ‘bend’).

[vs] to be bent from pressure or weight; to be curved, of a hard substance such as steel.

tr: kkolu,

st: makkolu.


maakona #1

(from PPN ^kona).

[vs]  to be completely full of food, satiated.


maakona #2

[nf]  a fish species, a very large skipjack tuna {atu}.

sa: atu #1.



[vs]  to be wrinkled.

tr: hakamakutukutu.


mala peto

[nf]  a shell species.


mmala #1 (mamala)

[vs]  to be powerful, effective, especially in supernatural matters.


mmala #2

[np]  charcoal, coals of a fire.



(from PPN ^mala’e).

1.[pln]  a ceremonial center near the ritual house {hale aitu}.  No longer maintained.

2.[np]  an area in front of a house that is set off with stone work.


malama #1

1.[no]  the moon.

sa: poo, sseni.

2.[no]  a month.  Names of the months are borrowed from English; starting from January: Tienuali, Fepuluali, Masi,Apelele, Mee, Tiuni, Tiulai, Okosi, Septepa, Oktopa, Novepa, Tisepa.


malama #2

[vs]  to be spread about, as when clothes are spread around a room.

tr: hakamalama <to spread things about>.



1.[vs]  to be lit up, to have light; te kiona ku maalama, ‘the place is lit up’.

tr: hakamaalama <to make light, to light up some area>.

2.[no]  the dawn, when it is first light in the morning.

syn: ata #1.

3.[vs]  to become dawn; taaua poo nei ku maalama, ‘our night together is turning into dawn (MS)’.

do: hakamaalama te poo <to stay awake all night until dawn>,

ps: maalamatia.

4.[vs]  to be attractive to the thing one is trying to catch and therefore successful; to be lucky, to be fortunate, successful, especially at catching fish or birds; in courtship, to be successful with women; to be attractive to ancestor spirits {aitu mate} who are seeking a person to possess {vaka}.

ca: hakamaalama  <to make oneself successful at the above endeavors through ritual>.


malamala #1

[np]  the wood scraps and shavings from a canoe that is being made.


malamala #2

[np]  the sparks of a shooting star.

syn: hhiti #1.



[n]  the world, the universe, the cosmos: malaamana i aluna, malaamana ki muli, ‘heaven’; malaamana nei, ‘earth’.



(from maalama ‘dawn’).

[ps]  to be engaged in some action when the dawn begins; to sleep late; to be caught stealing in the early light of the morning.



(from llana ‘pry up’).

[vs]  to be pried up, to be peeling, as paint peels.

tr: llana,

ps: lanaatia,

pl: mallana.



[vs]  to be bland tasting, as rice without any salt; to be sweet, of fermented coconut toddy {kaleve} that has not properly fermented; kaleve maalano, ‘kaleve that is not yet sour’.

do: malallano <a little salty, but still bland tasting>.


malau hatu


[nf]  a fish species similar to red squirrel fish {malau kulu}, but withsharper teeth.


malau kulu

[nf]  red squirrel fish.


malau seli

[nf]  a species of trevally.  (Also generic for all varieties of trevally).  The growth cycle of this type of trevally from smallest to largest is: lupo, alala kai pao, malau seli, ika tapu, ulua.

sa: matapuku.



1.[no]  the name of a person; koai tona male?, ‘what is his name?’.

2.[vi]  to be named; Te tama laa e male ki a Puna, ‘he is named Puna’.

ps: malea, malelia <to be given the name of a previously living person (on Sikaiana, many names are associated with specific clans and lineages and passed down in descent lines)>.



(from llemo ‘drown’).

[vs]  to be drowned.

tr: llemo,

ps: lemosia,

pl: mallemo.



[nf]  a double headed parrot fish.



[vs]  to be scattered; to be mashed up, as taro in preparation for making a pudding.


malli #1 (malili)

1.[vs]  tofall off a tree due to disease, of fruits.

2.[vs]  to be balding.  (Figurative).


malli #2 (malili)

[vi]  to salivate for some food.

tr: hakamalli <for food, to make a person salivate in hunger>.



[vs]  to be cool, to be cold: te vai e maaliki, ‘the water is cold’; noho i te maluana o te laakau, ku maaliki, ‘sit down in the shade of the tree, it is cool’.

ca: hakamaaliki <[vt, vi]  to make cool; to cool off>.

ps: maalikitia <of food, to be spoiled by cooling or

being placed next to something cold>.

do: sau maalikitau <the cold season, cold weather>.



[vs] to sparkle, to glitter.




(from llini ‘pour’).

[vs]  to be spilled.

tr: llini,

ps: linia.



(from PPN ^malino).

[vs]  to be a calm, of the sea or wind.

opp: peau.



(from PPN ^maliu).

[vt]  to change direction in movement or to mislead in speech in order to deceive someone.


malo #1

(from PPN ^malo).

[vs]  to blossom, of the breadfruit tree {kulu}.  (Archaic).

ge: see.


malo #2

[no]  a loincloth folded around the hips.

ca: hakamalo <to put on the malo; to prepare to fight (today, used figuratively); to put diapers on a baby>.



[vs]  to be energetic, willing, keen, in work or some other endeavor.

opp: naenae.

ca: hakamalooloo.



(from PPN ^malu).

[vs]  to be shaded, of an area protected from the sun and rain.



[vs]  to be soft.

tr: hakamaluu <to make soft; to let out fishing line>.



[vi]  to toilet, to defecate.  (Mildly restricted).

ps: maalulia <to be defecated upon>.


mmalu (mamalu)

1.[vs]  to be an area protected from the elements: kalemata mmalu, ‘to have sunken eyes’; lua mmalu, ‘a cave’.

2.[n]  a cave.



[vs]  for a ripe fruit to fall.



[pln]  a clan house {hale henua} associated with the Saapei clan.



[np]  an area shaded from the sun’s direct light, as under the leaves of a tree.



(from? Mota)

[n]  a Christian priest.


mmamma #1

[na]  masticated food.


mmamma #2

[vs]  to leak, of an enclosed area such as a canoe or a pipe; te manaui nei ku mmamma, ‘this canoe is leaking’.

cn: ttulu.


maamaa #1

[no]  the lung organ.


maamaa #2

[vs]  to be light in weight, to be easy to lift.

opp: mmaha.

tr: hakamaamaa <to lift, or to make light>,

pl: maammaa.


maamaa #3

[vt]  to chew.

do: mmamma.



[na]  a funnel used for pouring coconut toddy.


mana #1

[n]  thunder.  Te mana ku tammu, ‘the thunder crashes’.


mana #2

[np]  the part of a bonito hook {paa} onto which the hook is hafted, made from turtle {masana} shell {una}.

wh: paa #1.


mmana (mamana)

1.[vs]  to be spread apart, as a fork in a branch; noho mmana, ‘to sit with legs apart’.

tr: hakammana <to spread apart>,

rp: manamana <to be branching, divided into many parts.Te kanohale ku manamana,’the family divides into many branches’>,

do: kaimanamana.

2.[np]  the area in the sea, either inside or outside the lagoon, where one can still see the bottom of the ocean floor but is deep.

sa: vaea.



(from PPN ^manako).

[vp]  to desire, especially for certain foods and in courtship.

ps: manakotia <to be desired>,

do: he manako <to be undecided, especially in courtship>.



[np]  the part of a bird net {seu manu} where the rim {kaullie} is extended to overhang.  This part can be used for hanging the net.

wh: seu manu.



[vp]  to depend upon, to constantly go to the same place or person for resources, especially money.

ca: hakamanani.


mannata (malinata)

[nf]  a fish species, goatfish.



1.[vp]  to think back, to remember.

2.[vp]  to give food to a person to show that he is being remembered by the giver of the food.

For both senses:

ps: manatua.



1.[no]  a dinghy.  Seen on whaling and trading vessels.

2.[no]  a dugout canoe with no outrigger.  During my stays, the only type of sea travelling vessel made on Sikaiana. See pictures of people making manaui.

sa: vaka hai ama.



(from PPN ^manawa).

1.[no]  the stomach, or belly.

2.[no]  the center of emotions, thought and motivation: te hakateletele i toku manava, ‘the thinking in my heart’; te lihutia i toku manava, ‘the sadness in my heart’.

sa: hatu manava, kautae, manava pupu, manava mmau, manava haeko.

3.[no]  a blood relationship.  Toku manava e isi i tona kanohale, ‘I am related to his family’.

sa: uso.



[vs]  for earth to be disturbed by something moving underneath it, as when a rat is burrowing underground and a mound appears on the surface. Te kelekele ku maanava i te kiole, ‘the ground is being disturbed by the rat’.


manava haeko

[vi]  to be cruel, unkind, to be always causing trouble.  (Usually demeaning).


manava mmau

[vi]  to be bold, unafraid of danger; also unashamed by one’s shameful behavior, indifferent to the opinion of others.


manava pupu

[vi]  to be confused, mixed up, forgetful.



[np]  a group of fish when seen inside the lagoon.

sa: inaho, kunaaika, tau.



[n]  a ceremony in which the ritual house {Hale Aitu} was rebuilt, or the statues of spirits {aitu} were replaced.  (PCR).
See a re-enactment of the Manea.

sa: kaha, hakapili te niu, tino mate.



[nf]  a jellyfish species.



(from PPN ^ma’ene).

1.[vs]  to feel ticklish.

2.[vs]  to be feeling pleasurable sensations.

tr: hakamannenene.



[vs]  to be itchy.

ps: maneotia.


manni (manini)

[nf]  a fish species, sturgeon fish.



1.[vs]  to be smooth, to shine.

tr: hakamania <to make shine>.

2.[vi]  to grit, of teeth as at a shrill sound.



(from PPN ^manifi).

[vs]  to be thin, of flat objects.

cn: tualliki,

opp: maatolu.



[vs]  to be very thin.

opp: matolutuu.



(from PPN ^mano ‘many’).

[cardinal number]  one thousand in counting birds and coconuts.



[nf]  generic term for shark.  This term appears only in fairy stories {tala}.  (Rare).

syn: pakeo.



[vs]  to be sweet smelling, fragrant.  Idiom: talatala manoni, lit., ‘talk fragrant; flattery’.

tr: hakamanoni <to make fragrant>,

ps: manonilia <to be made fragrant by a nearby substance>.


manu #1

(from PPN ^manu).

1.[nf]  a generic term for any animal of the air or on land, including large insects.

cn: ika.

2.[nf]  a generic term for all birds.

cn: ika.

do: seu manu <to catch birds>.

3.[na]  a kite made from the leaf of the pandanus tree {hala}.

4.[n]  a beast, as might be seen in a film or in a dream.


manu #2

1.[no]  one of the three aspects of the human spirit.  This one most commonly refers to the spirit in day to day living. A fall from a tree or being startled may separate a person from his manu and the manu must be brought back to the body. See a picture of this.

cn: aitu mate, anaana#1.

2.[no]  the soul in Christian teachings.

3.[no]  a lover or desired love.  (Poetic).


manu #3

[np]  a place for sitting in the outrigger canoes {vaka hai ama}.


manu #4

1.[np]  the planks of the floor of a house.

2.[np]  the lines of pandanus that are dyed different colors in a mat {vasa}.


manu #5

[vs, followed by noun]  a smell: manu kulii, ‘smell like a dog’; manu paipu,’smell like a pipe’; manu kuku, ‘fishy smell’; manu peka, ‘body odor’; manumanu tama, ‘smell of humans (only appears in fairy tales, tala)’; manu kava, ‘urinary smell’.



[psn]  a star constellation.  Its position in the sky signals the arrival of strong wind and a time when large coral trout {natala} go to lay eggs outside the passage near the island, Matuiloto {Ava Likiliki}.



[vi]  to be up to mischief.


mmao (mamao)

(from PPN ^mama’o).

[vs]  to be distant, far away in time or space.

opp: taupili.

ca: hakammao <[vt vi]  to move apart, to separate out>.



[vi]  to yawn.



(from oha ‘pull apart’)

[vs]  to be disintegrated, shredded, fallen apart.

tr: oha,

ps: ohalia.



(from PPN ^ma’oni).

[vs]  to be true, real, genuine: talatala maaoni, ‘speech that is true’; hiihai maaoni, ‘true love’.

opp: pio, hakaleelesi.



[no]  a habit or characteristic trait of an individual, such as a person who twitches or always looks down when talking.



(from PPN ^masa).

[vs]  to be empty of liquid.

tr: hakamasa <to make empty>.



(from ssae ‘tear’).

[vs]  to be torn or ripped, of cloth or paper.

tr: ssae,

ps: saaea,

rp: masaesae,

pl: massae.



[vs]  to know, to understand, to be clear about something. A koe ku masaala, ‘do you understand?’.

tr: hakamasaala <to explain, to make clear>.



[vp] to be surprised.  A nau e masalo i a nau, ‘I am surprised at myself’.

ps: masaloa.



1.[vp]  to try to control something that belongs to another person.

ps: massassalia.

2.[vp]  to be stingy with one’s possessions, to hoard something.  (Recent).



[vp]  to deceive in order to gain advantage. Toku hina e masau i te talatala, ‘my secret lover is clever at deceiving in his speech (TS)’.

syn: liu.



[vs]  to be scratched.



[vi]  to fidgit, to be unable to sit still, to be disturbed.

ca: hakamasikesike <to make another person fidgit>.



[nf]  a fish species.



1.[vs]  for a fruit or plant to be doubled, as in two breadfruit fruits growing from a single stem.

2.[vs]  to have six fingers, a recurring genetic trait on Sikaiana.



[n]  a person who is constantly in the company of the opposite sex. Te masiva ku taka i haahine, ‘the man is in the company of women’.  (Teasing, mostly to children).



(from ssolo ‘wash’).

[vs]  to be washed out, bleached out, as a brass ring that is worn or clothes that are old.

tr: ssolo,

ps: soolona,

pl: massolo.


mata #1

[no]  the end or edge of an object: te mata o te laakau, ‘the end of the stick’; te mata o te kaiana, ‘the end of the table’; mata henua, ‘a point or promontory of an island’.

ca: hakamata.


mata #2

(from PPN ^mata).

[nq, vq]  uncooked food: kai mata, ‘to eat raw food’; te ika mata, ‘raw fish’; kunu mata, ‘raw oyster’; alli mata, ‘raw snail’.


mata #3

(from PPN ^mata).

[no]  eyes, face.  (Archaic).

syn: kalemata,

sa: mmata.


mata #4

[vs]  to have grown flesh inside, of a green coconut {niu}.

sa: niu.



[prefix for cardinal numbers]  counting fish by tens: matalua,

‘twenty’; matatolu, ‘thirty’; matahaa, ‘forty’; matalima, ‘fifty’; mataono, ‘sixty’; matahitu, ‘seventy’; matavalu, ‘eighty’; matasivo, ‘ninety’.


mata hanauna

[no]  a descent line starting from a founding ancestor.


mata henua

(from henua ‘island’).

[n, location]  the point or tip of the island, promontory.


mata lupe

[np]  an overhang at the front or rear of a house that provides shade.


mmata (mamata)

(from PPN ^mata).

[vp]  to look, examine, inspect.

tr: hakammata,

ps: mataalia,

do: kalemata, mata #3.


mataa huahua

1.[no]  pimple.

2.[np]  the white buds that grow on sea grass {limu}.


mataa hale

(from hale ‘house’).

[n]  the area outside a house.



[vs]  to be capable, skilled, adept, especially at physical work.


matahili (matasili)

[vs]  to be hard inside, of a green coconut {niu}.

sa: niu.



[no]  a temporary eye infection caused by salt spray.


matakkai (matakakai)

1.[vs]  to have a sharp point; to be pointed, as a European’s nose.

sa: kaa,

opp: matapuu.

2.[np]  the tip or point of an island, promontory.

syn: usu, utua.



(from PPN ^mataku).

[vs]  to be frightened, to be afraid.

ca: hakamataku <[nq]  frightening>.



(from ttala ‘untie’).

[vs]  to be undone, to be untied, of string or a knot.

tr: ttala,

ps: talaaina,

pl: mattala.



[psn]  a star constellation, Pleiades.



[vs]  to be small or narrow, of spacing, as the spacing in nets.

opp: matamata.



(from? aliki ‘chief’)

[prn]  the clans that are eligible to succeed to the office of aliki having descended from Tehui Atahu or Tehui Luaniua. These clans are: Saalupe, Saatui and Vaka Avusu, although there is controversy about which descent groups have legitimate rights and true ancestry.

sa: heto aliki, tanta vale.



[vs]  to be almost hard inside, of a green coconut {niu}.

sa: niu.

[vs]  to be energetic, of a child.  (Figurative).



[vs]  to be wide or large, of space in openings as the mesh of a net.  (Archaic).

opp: matalliki.



[nf]  a fish species, trevally.

sa: matapuku.



[vs]  to have a large prepuce.  (Restricted).


matanasau (nasau)

[np]  the arrow of a bow and arrow. Idiom: \s te nasau ku llihu, ‘the arrow is painful’ (said when a man has heard critical but untrue gossip about himself; also believed to have been said by the men of Taumako just before they killed the Tongans under Vaeoma in Sikaiana legends).



(from PPN ^matangi).

1. [n]  the wind.

2.[no]  a person’s presence, fragrance, the breeze from his body as he passes.  Tona matani ni sahio mai, ‘the breeze of her body came to us’.  (Poetic).

3.[n]  misfortune, adversity, gossip.  (Figurative, mostly poetic).


matani pala

[no]  an ornament made from the back of a cone shell that is polished and worn around the neck.



[pln]  a ritual house site, associated with the Saakava clan.

ge: hale henua.


matappa (matapapa)

[n]  a rock formation, where the ground consists of flat hard rocks.



1.[vs]  of a coconut that has been tampered with and does not grow well.

2.[vs]  of a child that is prematurely born or a child that does not grow properly.  (Figurative).



[vs]  blunt, as of a knife.

opp:  matakkai, kaa.



[nf]  a fish species, trevally.  The growth cycle of the matapuku is: lupo, taahaki, matamea, matapuku.

sa: malau seli.



(from Mota).

[vt]  to recite, or learn by heart.


matattila (matatitila)

[vp]  to be supernaturally powerful, especially of ancestral spirits {aitu mate}.



(from PPN ^mata’u ‘fish hook’).

1.[nv]  to fish with a hand held line.  Types of line fishing include: hakasolo, kura, teveaki, tau namo, tala hatu, maatau ssave, taupouli, tala hatu, tau palu, taullo, maatau halepouli.

ge: haanota.

sa: mau, eea#2, laoina, mounu, leli, siisii.

2.[na]  a fish hook.  (Archaic).

3.[n]  the right‑hand side.  (Archaic).


maatau halepouli (taupouli)

[nv]  a line fishing technique.  A person drops his line down to some ridges which are found in the lagoon.

ge: maatau,

syn: taupouli.


maatau ssave (maatau sasave)

[nv]  a line fishing technique for catching flying fish {ssave} in which several different floats made of coconut shell {puputau} with lines attached are placed in the sea.

ge: maatau.


mate #1

1.[vs]  to die, to be dead.

ca: hakamate,

pl: mmate.

2.[vs]  to fall into a deep sleep after a tiring experience or drinking.  (Figurative).

3.[vs]  to be extinguished or to have lost power; of coconut toddy {kaleve} that has fermented too long and gone flat. Te ahi ku mate; ‘the fire has died out’; na viki ku mmate, ‘the batteries have gone flat’; te sikaa ku mate, ‘the cigarette has gone out’; te kaleve ku mate, ‘the toddy has over‑fermented and gone flat’.

4.[vs]  to lose in a card game or a board game.

5.[vs]  to fall in love, including as a result of love magic.


mate #2

[vt]  to recognize a person.

ps: matea  <to be recognized>.



[vs]  to be cracked, as glass cracks.



[vp]  to pretend, to deceive through pretending, to trick.

ps: matematelia  <to be tricked>.


matikia naa

[conjunction]  by luck, by chance, as fate would have it! Tau tamahine e tautali i ooku muli, matikia naa, te tahi te paa o te misoni e pupui o puke mai, ‘your daughter follows behind me, but as fate would have it, the church prevents me (from having an affair with her) (TS)’.



[vs]  to be marked in a way that can be identified; tona ahi hhiti ku maatino, ‘his cigarette lighter is marked (with his name)’.

tr: hakamaatino.

2.[vs]  to be clear, easy to read or see.

3.[vs]  to be obvious, certain; toku halona he ki maatino, ‘my journey is not yet certain’; taaua he ki maatino, ‘our relationship is not yet certain’.



[vs]  to be broken into pieces, to be shattered as glass breaks.



[vs]  to be thick.

opp: maanihi.



[vs]  to be very thick.

opp: maanihitau.



[personal pronoun, 1st person plural exclusive]  we.



1.[vs]  to be ripe, of fruit and vegetables.

tr: hakamatua  <to make ready for harvest, to make ripe>.

2.[vs]  to be mature, of humans; te tanata laa ku matua, ‘that male is grown up’.

cn: maatua.



(from PPN ^matu’a).

1.[vs]  to be aged, old.

2.[n]  an old person.

3.[no]  genetic parents, classifactory parents; 1st ascending generation lineal and collateral relatives.

sa: matua.

do: haimaatua <in the relationship of parents to children>.



[pln]  one of the three eastern islands inside the reef of Sikaiana, the southern one.

sa: Muli Akau.



[pln]  one of the three eastern islands inside the reef of Sikaiana, the central one.

sa: Muli Akau.



[nf]  bird species,reef heron.



(from? mmau ‘firm, tight’)

[vs]  to have caught a fish when fishing with a line, often said when the line tenses.

cn: tau #5.

pl: mmau.


mmau (mamau)

(from PPN ^ma’u ‘fixed, constant’).

[vs]  to be firm, tight.

tr: hakammau.



[personal pronoun, 1st person dual exclusive]  we (of two people).



(from uhu ‘pull out’).

[vs]  to be pulled out, separated from: te uka ku mauhu, ‘the fishing line has come out’, oona niho ku mauhu, ‘his teeth are pulled out’.



[n, nq, direction]  left side, left‑handed.  (Archaic).

ca: hakamaaui.



[vt, vs]  to waste, to be wasted.  Te pia e maumau te moni, ‘beer wastes money’.



[n]  a ceremony brought from Kiribati (Gilberts), probably in the late 19th century.  A group goes disguised to the house of someone who has recently adopted a child and demands gifts and services.  The adoptive parents are obliged to fulfill these requests to prove their love for their adopted child.  A Kiribati/Gilbertese song of the same name is sung during the ceremony.
See a picture of the mautolotolo.

sa: nono kai.



[v followed by ki and a verb phrase]  to plan to do something: te tama laa e mee ki hano, ‘he is planning to go’.



(from PPN ^me’a).

1.[vt]  to do, to make, to cause. Taaua nei ki mea muli pe hea? ‘what are we to do?’

ps: meina.

2.[vp]  to have intercourse.

do: hiimea.

3.[na]   material possessions; te tama laa e isi aana mea; ‘that person has his things; he is wealthy’.

4.[na]  thing; he mea, ‘anything’, ‘something’.

5.[no]  sexual organs.

6.[personal pronoun]  in speech when a person’s name is temporarily forgotten, the term a mea is substituted.


mea hau

see mea tau.


mea ppili

[na]  coconut sap candy.  Made from coconut sap {kaleve} that is collected at any time of the day.

cn: kapeni.


mea ppoa

[n]  food from the sea.


mea pukupuku

(from pukupuku ’round’).

[na]  a large round glass container used for fermenting toddy.  Capable of holding two or three gallons of liquid. These are commercial fishnet floats that drift to Sikaiana.


mea ppuku

[no]  the kidney organ.


mea tau (mea hau)

(from tau ‘to weave on a loom’).

1.[na]  a piece of material woven on the loom.

2.[na]  the traditional back strap loom.  It was used for making clothing, maternity belts {taakai} and mosquito nets {tae namu}. (Rarely used today).  The parts of the loom mat include: sika, papa, tuu, llana, palonu, nnauka, atu, kaavei, kapi.  The material is made from the inside of the bark of the hau tree which is placed in salt water; after dryingthe strands are tied together to form a long string and then woven on the loom.
See an illustration of the mea tau.
See photos of people making a mea tau.

sa: tau#6, hau#1.


mea vvale

(from mea ‘thing’ and vvale ‘crazy’).

[na]  European alcoholic beverages such as wine, spirits and whisky.



[vs] red, the color.

syn: ula.



[no]  a group of people.

syn: kaavena.



[psn]  a star constellation.



[vp]  to be hesitant through fear or shame.

ca: hakameimei <to cause to hesitate>,

cp: hakameimeilia.



(from mea ‘to make’).

1.[ps]  to be teased, to be criticized by joking.

2.[ps]  to be injured, to be harmed, to be spoiled, usually in reputation; in courtship, to be the victim of love magic or, of a female who has a love affair with a male under the assumption that they will marry and the male refuses to marry her.  Te hahine ni meina e te lapu, ‘the woman was harmed by black magic’.


mmele (memele)

[vs]  to be injured, damaged, cut, dented: te kapu ku mmele, ‘thecu p has a scar or dent’; tona vae ku mmele, ‘his leg is injured’.

ps: melenia <to be injured by a trap>.



(from Eng ‘milk’).

[na]  milk.


meme ake

[v]  to be feeling better, as after a sickness.



(from haeko ‘cruel’).

1.[vp]  to be cruel, mean, nasty.

ca: hakamemehaeko <to verbally criticize>,

ps: memehaekolia,

cp: hakamemehaekolia.

2.[vi]  to be close to dying, in death throes.



(from laoi ‘kind’).

[vp]  to be kind, helpful.

ca: hakamemelaoi <to speak well of someone, to praise>,

ps: memelaoilia,

cp: hakamemelaoilia.



1.[vp]  to be cruel, destructive, to vandalize or destroy property, especially without reason or justification.

2.[vp]  to have intercourse with a female without any intention of marrying her.

For both senses:

ps: memepuamulia.

3.[vi]  of a child, to be undisciplined and destructive.


mili #1

[vt]  to hold.

ps: milia <to be spoiled through constant touching, as when a child plays too roughly with a kitten; te pusi ku milia, ‘the cat is harmed by constant handling’>.


mili #2

[vs]  to bear plentifully, to be fruitful; te kulu ku mili, ‘the breadfruit is very fruitful’.

pl: mmili.


mili #3

1.[vt]  to drill.

2.[na]  a drill for drilling holes.

3.[np]  the top lashing of the bonito hook {paa} to its haft.

wh: paa 1.

4.[na]  a spinning top (a children’s toy).


mmili (mimili)

1.[vt]  to turn, twist.  Mmili ake te teipi!, ‘turn up the tape cassette!’.

ps: miilia.



[vt]  to repeat something constantly to oneself, as when preoccupied or disturbed by something.



(from PPN ^mimi).

1.[vi]  to urinate.

ps: mimilia <to be urinated upon>.

2.[no]  genitals, the penis, the vulva.  (Polite form).


mmio (mimio)

1.[n]  a circular current or whirlpool.

2.[vs]  to turn in a whirlpool; te tahe ku mmio, ‘the current is going in a whirlpool’.



1.[vi]  to make ripples or small waves in the surface of water; na ika ku misa mai, ‘the fish are making ripples in the surface of the water’.

rp: misamisa.

2.[no]  the ripples made by swimming fish.


mmiti (mimiti)

[vt]  to suck.

ps: mitimitilia,

rp: mitimiti.



(from ^mmiti ‘suck’).

[vt]  to smoke tobacco in a pipe or cigarette.



(from Eng ‘meeting’).

[na]  a meeting of people, normally for some western institution.

[vi]  to hold or attend a meeting.


moa #1

(from PPN ^moa).

[na]  a domesticated fowl, chicken: punua moa, ‘chick’; moa tanata, ‘rooster’; moa hahine, ‘hen’; hua moa, tama moa, ‘hen eggs’.


moa #2

[vs]  to be cooked.

tr: hakamoa <to cook>,

pl: mmoa,

do: moaikaika.


moa #3

[no]  the bud on the shoot of a banana tree.

sa: hakasina.



[vs]  to be half cooked, of food.


moana #1

(from PPN ^moana).

[np]  the ocean, including both the open sea and the deep part of the lagoon; moana aatea, ‘the open sea, no land in sight’.  Idiom: noho o te moana, ‘living abroad, away from Sikaiana’; te lautama e noho o te moana heai mana he kete haahaa ki kauakelia, ‘the generation living abroad from Sikaiana does not receive any basket of taro (MS)’.


moana #2

[nf]  a fish species, goatfish species.



(from PPN ^mohe).

1.[vi]  to sleep: moe ohooho, ‘to sleep restlessly, to be a light sleep’; moe mate, ‘to be a very deep sleeper’; moe selono, ‘to sleep deeply’; hano taku moe, ‘to dream’; aaku moe e hano tasi ki a koe, ‘I always dream of you’; mooea e nau pe laa a nau ku noho i Sikaiana, ‘I dreamed that I was living on Sikaiana’.

tr: hakamoe <to put to sleep, as with children>,

ps: mooea <to be slept upon, as bedding>.

2.[vi]  to exist, to be at a certain place; aaku tupeka e moe i toku

hale, ‘my tobacco is in my house’.

syn: takoto.

tr: hakamoe <to place, to put>.

For both senses:

pl: mmoe.



1. see moe.

2.[vs]  to be lucky at catching flying fish {tae ssave}.

sa: laiona, leia, maalama,

opp: haekotia.


moemoe vvale

(from vvale ‘insane’)

[vs?,vi]  to have a nightmare.


moena #1

[no]  bedding material.


moena #2

[np]  a group of flying fish {ssave}.



[psn]  a group of legendary semi‑human beings who are believed to have made the shell tools {kautoki} that are no longer used but are found on Sikaiana. (Note: an older women told me these tools were made by Sikaiana’s ancestors).



1.[no]  the tail of an animal.

2.[no]  the smallest of the outrigger canoes {vaka hai ama} measuring about 9 feet long.

ge: vaka hai ama.


moisuki kiole

[np]  the string tied on the end of a bonito hook {paa}.

wh: paa #1.



[nf]  a lizard, generic term.


moko ppili

[nf]  a lizard species, gecko.



[nf]  crocodile; not indigenous to Sikaiana, but does inhabit other areas of the Solomon Islands.


mokoaa #1

[no]  a specific point of time: i te mokoaa laa, a Mautikitiki ni noho i Hale, ‘at that moment, Mautikitiki was staying at the main island’; i te mokoaa hea, ‘at what precise time?’.

cn: tulana #1.


mokoaa #2

[vs]  to have a gap, as in between walling slats.

sa: avaava.



[nf]  a fish species, small.



[no]  genetic and classificatory grandchild; adopted child.

do: haimokupuna <to be in the relationships described above>.


mmole (momole)

(from PPN ^mole).

[vs]  to be smooth.  Idiom: pohoulu mmole, ‘a bald head’.

tr: hakammole <to make smooth>.



[nf]  a fish species, garfish.



[nf]  a phosphorescent sea animal.



(from PPN ^momona).

[vs]  to be greasy, savoury, fatty, of food.  (A valued quality on Sikaiana).



[nf]  a cockroach, all varieties.



(from Eng ‘money’).

[na]  money.


mmono (momono)

[vs]  to be turned in towards the center.

ps: monolia <to be shrunk in by something>.



[n, time]  a time when there is no fruit on coconut trees.  (Archaic and rare).

syn: motu#2.



[vs]  to be pulled apart, shredded.


mmoti (momoti)

[vp]  to sneak up upon someone; to secretly listen in on a conversation.



[no]  finger:  motikao matua, ‘the thumb’, ‘the big toe’; motikao suki, ‘the little finger’, ‘the little toe’; motikao loloa, ‘middle finger’, ‘long toe’.



[vs]  to be unripe, of fruit.

opp: leu.

pl: momoto, mmoto.



(from Eng ‘motorcar’).

1.[no]  motorcar, automobile.

2.[na]  a toy motorcar.


motu #1

(from PPN ^motu).

1.[vt, vs]  to sever, to snap, to be snapped; of thin material only such as string or fishing line.

ps: motusia, mossia,

rp: motumotu,

ca: hakamotumotu <[vq]  to stutter, to be broken, of speech>.

2.[vs]  for a canoe, to have a sharp break in its body from improper shaping.

3.[vs]  to break, end, of a social relationship; o laaua vaisoa ni he motu mai, ‘their friendship did not end’.

4.[np]  the small islands found inside a reef.

cn: henua.


motu #2

[vs]  to be a time when there are no fruits on coconut trees.

syn: mosana.




[no]  the tip of the penis where there is no foreskin; glans penis.



[nf]  a bird species, seagull.



[vs]  to be raised, of a mound or a hill.



[no]  the senses or wits; ooku mouli ni sopo i te talatala laa, ‘I lost my senses upon hearing that news’.

do: hakaohomouli.



[n]  a spook or goblin; a term for a class of spirits that is not believed to exist, but is invoked to scare children.



[np]  a hill or mountain.



(from PPN ^mounu).

[na]  the bait used in fishing.


muu #1

[vi]  to play any card or board game, such as cards, draughts or checkers.

ps: muulia <to be played, of card game or a board game>.


muu #2

(from PPN ^mu).

[nf]  a fish species.


mmu (mumu)

[vi]  to run very fast.



(from PPN ^mu’a).

1.[n, time, place]  in front, before: i mua, maatou i Sikaiana ni nnoho pouli, ‘before, we on Sikaiana were pagan’; i mua o te laakau, ‘in front of the tree’.

2.[vq, nq]   first, before: maatou ka olo mua ki te ata, ‘first we will go the movie’.

opp: muli.

3.[np]  a type of verse in composed songs {mako hatu} that is sung at the beginning of the song before the akoako, but not repeated again.

wh: mako hatu.



1.[np]  lips of a person.

2.[np]  mustache; hakatuu ona muaisu, ‘grow a mustache’.



[vi]  to converse, to talk informally, to chat.

pl: muaisuttau.


mmui (mumui)

(from PPN ^mui).

[vi]  to collect, to come together.

ps: muuia <to be brought together for a reason>.



[vs]  to be weak, rotting, of cloth, string and ropes: taku luhaluha e muka laa ki hau ai ko te vaka nei, ‘my rope is weak for lashing the canoe (TS)’.



[na]  a green coconut with juice inside but no kernal.

ge: niu.



(from PPN ^muka).

[np]  a shoot growing from a sprouted coconut {kamatuu}.



[np]  a doubled coconut sprout from a single sprouted coconut {kamatuu}.



(from PPN ^muri).

1.[n, time, place]  after, behind: i muli o te tulana laa, ‘after that time’; i muli o te hale, ‘behind the house’, tiaki ki muli, ‘leave it until later’.

2.[nq]  after, behind: te lautama muli nei, ‘this latter generation, the present generation’.

For first two senses:

opp: mua.

ca: hakamuli.

3.[vq]  back, return. Maatou ni olo muli, ‘we went back’.

4.[nq, reflexive]  self; te tama laa ni hakapuupuu ki a ia muli,

‘that person praised himself’.


Muli Akau

(from? akau ‘reef’).

[pln]  the three smaller and most westward islands of Sikaiana (from north to south): Tehaolei, Matuiloto and Matuavi.

cn: Hale.



[no]  the back of the head.



[na]  firewood.



[no]  the heel of the foot.



[vi]  to make a constant buzzing noise, as the sound of a fly.



[vt]  to whisper.


mumulu (mmulu)

[vt]  to wipe, usually to wipe a wet substance; wipe away tears.

ca: hakamulumulu <to put powder on a person>,

ps: muluna.



1.[vi]  of voices that are heard, but the words are indistinct.

2.[vp]  to gossip; te henua ku mmusu i te talatala, ‘the island is gossiping about something’.

ps: muusuia <to be gossiped about>.

3.[vp]  to whisper.  (Recent).

ps: mumusulia <to be whispered, of speech>.


mumutalina (mumutanna)

[nf]  hammerhead shark.



[vp]  to swear, to insult, to criticize directly to the face.

ps: munaia,

do: munamuna.



[vi]  to mutter.


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