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January 1 , 2004

Slang of the Week: howlie (noun)
A non-Polynesian in Hawaii, especially a white person

Example:
Because she was a red-haired howlie, Susan was careful to use plenty of sunscreen while at the beach.

Celebrity quote:
“‘My manager’s a typical local howlie - a reetard,’ Buddy said. ‘Fondles the help. Always cockroaching booze. Sniffs around the guest rooms.’”

-Paul Theroux, from his novel Hotel Honolulu

Howlie (also spelled howly), from the Hawaiian word haole, is just one of a number of not-really-bad-but-not-exactly-nice words used to describe outsiders in the US. Residents of the “green mountain state” refer to non-Vermonters as flatlanders, despite the fact that mountains also dot many of the states nearby. On Cape Cod in Massachusetts, newcomers are known as wash-ashores. In Alaska, they are called cheechakos, but if they stay for long enough they can become sourdoughs (old timers).

In the South, northerners are generally called Yankees, but in North Carolina, some transplants from the frozen north are called half-backs. That’s not because of their resemblance to football players, but because they first moved south to Florida, and finding it too hot, came north again - but only halfway back from where they started.

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