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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Kanacka \Ka*nack"a\, Kanaka \Ka*na"ka\, n. [Native name, prop., a man.] A native of the Sandwich Islands.


Blackbird \Black"bird\, n.

  1. Among slavers and pirates, a negro or Polynesian. [Cant, pejorative]

  2. A native of any of the islands near Queensland; -- called also Kanaka. [Australia, pejorative]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

U.S. nautical and Australian name for "native of South Sea islands," 1840, from Hawaiian kanaka "man" (Samoan tangata).


n. 1 A person of Hawaiian descent. 2 (context historical English) A South Pacific Islander, especially a labourer in Australia or Canada.


Kanaka may refer to:

  • Kanaka (term), a word meaning 'people' or 'person' used by various Polynesian people to refer to themselves
  • Kanak people, the indigenous Melanesian residents of New Caledonia
  • Kanaka Maoli, native subject of the Kingdom of Hawaii
  • Kanaka (Pacific Island worker), workers from Pacific Islands employed in British colonies and in North American fur trade and goldfields
    • Kanaka Bar, British Columbia, an unincorporated area in the Fraser Canyon of British Columbia. The Canadian National Railway railway-point at this location is also named Kanaka
    • Kanaka Bar First Nation, the Nlaka'pamux First Nations government at Kanaka Bar, British Columbia
    • Kanaka Creek, British Columbia, a historical settlement and modern neighbourhood in the District of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
    • Kanaka Creek Regional Park, a regional park run by the Greater Vancouver Regional District, in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
  • Kanaka (name), and Indian name (including a list of persons with the name)
  • Kanaka (actress), Indian Film actress
  • Kanaka, the Sanskrit term for a species of Datura
Kanaka (Pacific Island worker)

Kanaka was the term for a worker from various Pacific Islands employed in British colonies, such as British Columbia ( Canada), Fiji and Queensland ( Australia) in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They also worked in California and Chile (see Easter Island and Rapanui people as related subjects).

"Kanaka", sometimes used as a derogatory name, originally referred only to native Hawaiians, called kānaka ʻōiwi or kānaka maoli in the Hawaiʻian language. Until 2009, several rough translations of the word "Kanak" were admitted: "man", "animal man ", and "wild man" were the most used. In its resolution n°5195, the Academy of the Polynesian languages Pa' umotu specified a definition more faithful to the primal Polynesian language Mamaka Kaïo of origin, that of "free man".

Kanaka (actress)

Kanaka Mahalakshmi, mononymously known as Kanaka, is a South Indian film actress.

Kanaka (name)

Kanaka is an Indian given name and surname. The Sanskrit word has the primary meaning "gold". Notable persons with the name include:

  • Kanaka (actress) (born 1973), South Indian film actress
  • Kanaka Dasa (1509 – 1609), Kannada-language poet, philosopher, musician and composer
  • Kanaka Ha Ma (born 1964), Kannada-language writer
  • Kanaka Herath, Shri Lankan politician
  • Kanaka Srinivasan, Indian classical dancer
  • T. S. Kanaka (born 1932), Indian neurosurgeon

Usage examples of "kanaka".

And the fat-faced tourists whispering to each other about the crazy haole wondering who he was must be from old Island family who appeared to be more savagely Hawaiian than the Kanaka natives.

At Pacific Street bulkhead there was a trading schooner, the Pelorus, unloading copra, and Tamea spoke to the Kanaka mate in his own language.

Still I saw that the Kanaka continued his exertions in my favour--that he was boldly debating the matter with the savages, and was striving to entice them by displaying his cloth and powder, and snapping the lock of his musket.

Young Kanakas in New England--A Temple Built by Ghosts--Female Bathers--I Stood Guard--Women and Whiskey--A Fight for Religion--Arrival of Missionaries CHAPTER LXXIII.

The buck Kanakas bake it under ground, then mash it up well with a heavy lava pestle, mix water with it until it becomes a paste, set it aside and let if ferment, and then it is poi--and an unseductive mixture it is, almost tasteless before it ferments and too sour for a luxury afterward.

Next we have his Excellency the Minister of War, who holds sway over the royal armies--they consist of two hundred and thirty uniformed Kanakas, mostly Brigadier Generals, and if the country ever gets into trouble with a foreign power we shall probably hear from them.

Romans exhibited the higher pluck, but the Kanakas showed the sounder judgment.

But these Kanakas will lie, and this statement is one of their ablest efforts--for Kaahumanu was six feet high--she was bulky--she was built like an ox--and she could no more have squeezed herself under that rock than she could have passed between the cylinders of a sugar mill.

When the nature of the water is considered, it is not so remarkable after all that the Kanakas are one of the most expert of swimming races.

In lieu of which, nineteen Kanakas slung him on a frame of timbers and toted him to the ship, where, battened down under hatches, even now he is cleaving the South Pacific Hornward and toward Europe--the ultimate abiding-place for all good heathen idols, save for the few in America and one in particular who grins beside me as I write, and who, barring shipwreck, will grin somewhere in my neighbourhood until I die.

It was then that they were discovered by the two Kanakas who achieved the rescue.

Kanaka has done what Tristram never did, and that he knows a joy of the sea that Tristram never knew.

It not only chills one's enthusiasm, it positively shakes one's convictions when one hears that the things one has been brought up to believe as true are being very favourably spoken of by Buriats and Samoyeds and Kanakas.

I will give one instance: I chanced to speak with consideration of these gifts of Stanislao's with a certain clever man, a great hater and contemner of Kanakas.

We were more than a week making the trip, because our Kanaka horses would not go by a house or a hut without stopping--whip and spur could not alter their minds about it, and so we finally found that it economized time to let them have their way.