"Mahalo" is a Hawaiian word meaning thanks, gratitude, admiration, praise, esteem, regards, or respects. It is derived from the Proto-Polynesian "masalo".
Mahalo is as important as Aloha in the Hawaiian language and conveys much sacred and spiritual meaning. The root words are 'Ma' which means in, 'ha' which is breath or life energy and 'alo' which is in the presence of. Mahalo translates "To be in the presence of the Divine".
Some sources support that the meanings "thanks" and "gratitude" were appended to the word following contact with Westerners. Early visitors noted that the Hawaiians were generous and grateful people, but had no word to express gratitude or to say "thank you"