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Hi all,

I was reading this Pacific Mythology book and bumped into something that may help further clarify (or confuse) the issue of the meaning of Lua in Hawaiian.

Search Google for "hawaiian dictionary lua", and click on the link that has the Hawaiian-English Google Book. It shows more clearly the meanings of Lua.

'Toilet' seems to be modern usage, and hole/cave thing seems to be the original meaning. Hawaiian being tonal really complicates things, but for convenience we'll take the first dictionary definition. We can confirm this via Hawaiian's relation to other Malayo-Polynesian languages; in Malay/Indonesian, a cave is 'gua'.

The Hawaiian Lua could also be instead related to 'liang' ('hole') as in Liang Bua Cave (literally, "Hole Cave Cave" or "Cave Cave Cave"?) where the H. floresiensis was found in Flores. But 'gua' is a better match, because lava caves and tubes in Hawaii seem to be all 'lua'. The word 'lua' has no match in Malay/Indonesian.

There is a Wiktionary page with a bit more information here:
(They try to match 'lua' with 'lubang', which I don't agree with. The latter is two syllables and in some dialects, it sounds more like LOH-bang.)

I looked up the mailing list archives and it seems the Hawaiian word lua is getting a somewhat unpleasant rep due to its modern usage. Unfortunately, due to modernization, a lot of search results will undoubtedly return the modern use of the word. Anyway, at least the above might help make a search on the Lua mailing list a bit more informative.

Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia