Hawaii Pidgin Word Added to Oxford English Dictionary

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii pidgin adjective for “messed up” has been listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the word hammajang was among the more than 600 new words and phrases added to the dictionary in December.

Hammajang is defined as “in a disorderly or shambolic state.”

The dictionary last year requested for people to submit words unique to their English-speaking region.

Dictionary associate editor Eleanor Maier wrote online that the word entered English through Hawaiian Creole.

She wrote that the word’s origin was unknown, but it could be related to the Hawaiian word for inept: hemahema. That was possibly combined with the Hawaiian Creole adjective junk, meaning bad.

She notes that the earliest example of the use of hammajang was in a short story published in 1988.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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