from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. American yankee or leader.
  • n. Priest of high rank, or often said of an expert in a profession, such as dentistry.
  • n. Sorcerer, magician or wizard.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A priest or medicine-man.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowed from Hawaiian word kahuna ("a shaman or wizard").


  • Every sort of kahuna was at bottom and in some regard a priest, his special department being indicated by a qualifying word, as _kahuna anaana_, sorcerer, _kahuna kalai wa'a_, canoe-maker.

    Unwritten Literature of Hawaii The Sacred Songs of the Hula

  • The Hawaiian word kahuna meaning "priest" sounds remarkably similar to the Hebrew word for priest, but unless you can devise a story about an ancient encounter between Semitic tribes and Polynesians, it is likely that the two languages just happened to hit upon the same combination of sound and meaning in this one instant.

    The line between cranks and scholars

  • Charley shot off the spelling of "kahuna" before making a mad dash off the stage.


  • Once that power base is recognized, the biggest "kahuna" of them all becomes visible.

    Yonkers Tribune

  • Whether you are a Native American medicine person, a Hawaiian kahuna, or a Kalahari Bushman, a sacred song is the line that connects you to the divine and enables the medicine to come forth, whether by direct infusion or recommended prescription.

    The Bushman Way of Tracking God

  • It was the first of an expected wave of technology IPOs including companies such as discount-deal website Groupon Inc., music site Pandora Media Inc., and online game developer Zynga Inc. The big kahuna of technology offerings, Facebook, is expected next year.

    Flood of Fees Flows Into Bank Coffers

  • Zynga Inc., the San Francisco social-gaming company, has filed to go public, with the big kahuna—Facebook Inc.—expected to follow next year.

    Millionaire Watch: In Silicon Valley a Countdown Is Under Way

  • "My guess is that Florida is going to be the big kahuna," said Brad Coker, a Florida-based pollster for Mason-Dixon who conducts surveys nationwide.

    Elections 2012: Florida Set For Big Role In GOP Primary

  • She could skin the ordinary kahuna lapaau (medicine man) when it came to praying to Lonopuha and Koleamoku; read dreams and visions and signs and omens and indigestions to beat the band; make the practitioners under the medicine god, Maiola, look like thirty cents; pull off a pule hoe incantation that would make them dizzy; and she claimed to a practice of kahuna hoenoho, which is modern spiritism, second to none.


  • I'm not talking about the Constitution of the State of Michigan; I'm talking about the big kahuna: The Constitution of the United States.

    Steve Lehto: 'Sharia Law' Laws


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  • Kahuna is a Hawaiian word, defined in the Pukui & Elbert Dictionary as "Priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, minister, expert in any profession."

    Forty different types of kahuna are listed in the book, Tales from the Night Rainbow. Kamakau lists more than 20 in the healing professions alone, including for example Kahuna la'au lapa'au, an expert in herbal medicine and kahuna haha, an expert in diagnosing illnesses.


    February 19, 2008