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Roberto Ierusalimschy wrote:
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. [...]

If we search for "hawaiian lua" (without "dictionary") we get lots of
stuff about a martial art called Lua. Do you (or someone else) know how
this other meaning fits in? (They do not seem to worry about fighting a
style called "toilet" ;)

It's item 6 in the dictionary definition of 'lua'. One of the martial arts site by a Hawaiian master translated 'lua' as 'dislocation'. My wild guess would be that it came from gouging or dismemberment, which would tie it to a hole/pit meaning. The root meaning seems to be that of a hole or cave. All are valid meanings of 'lua'.

The dictionary definition seems pretty complete, thanks to Google. But we have to remember that just 'lua' by itself is incomplete. There may be tonal issues, and for that, only a native speaker can enlighten us.

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