How popular is the baby name Kai in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Kai and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Kai.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kai

Number of Babies Named Kai

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Kai

Delayed Celebrity Baby Name Debuts

Raquel and Tahnee, LHJ, Nov. 1967
Last week we looked at celebrity baby name debuts. These typically occur the same year or the year after a celebrity baby is born (or adopted).

Sometimes, though, there’s a gap of several years. This typically means that the birth/adoption didn’t draw much attention to the name, but some subsequent media event did.

Here are the three earliest examples of “delayed” celebrity baby name debuts that I know of, plus the stories behind what caused them.


In December of 1961, actress Raquel Welch had a baby girl. The baby was legally named Latanne Rene, but her nickname was Tahnee.

But the name Tahnee didn’t debut on the baby name charts until 1967, when Tahnee was 6 years old:

  • 1970: 27 baby girls named Tahnee
  • 1969: 15 baby girls named Tahnee
  • 1968: 28 baby girls named Tahnee
  • 1967: 17 baby girls named Tahnee [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted

Why? Because that’s the year Tahnee and her mother were featured in an issue Ladies’ Home Journal.

Tahnee went on to become an actress, like her mother. The usage of the baby name Tahnee peaked in 1985, the year Tahnee Welch played an alien named Kitty in the summer blockbuster Cocoon.

(Her legal name, Latanne, has never made the SSA’s list.)


Karac Pendra Plant with his father Robert Plant
Karac with Robert Plant, mid-1970s
In April of 1972, musician Robert Plant welcomed a baby boy named Karac Pendra. “Karac” was inspired by Caractacus, the name of a first-century British chieftain.

But the name Karac didn’t debut until 1979:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 6 baby boys named Karac [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted

Sadly, Karac died of a stomach infection in 1977 while Led Zeppelin was on tour in North America.

In 1979, Led Zeppelin released the album In Through the Out Door, which included a tribute to Karac called “All My Love.” At least one high-profile magazine, People, mentioned Karac in its write-up of the album. My guess is that this and other press mentions are what caused the baby name to debut in ’79.

(For the record, several U.S. babies named Karac before 1979. And I found one born in London in 1977 named “Zeppelin Karac.”)


Akeiba Burrell on the cover of Jet with her father MC Hammer in 1992
A’keiba on the cover of Jet, May, 1992
In September of 1987, musician M.C. Hammer welcomed a baby girl named A’Keiba Monique.

But the name Akeiba didn’t debut until 1992, when A’keiba was four years old:

  • 1995: unlisted
  • 1994: 5 baby girls named Akeiba
  • 1993: 6 baby girls named Akeiba
  • 1992: 49 baby girls named Akeiba [debut]
  • 1991: unlisted

M.C. Hammer wasn’t famous in 1987. (“U Can’t Touch This” didn’t become a hit until 1990.) So A’Keiba’s birth wouldn’t have affected the baby name charts that early.

But why did it suddenly hit in 1992?

Because A’keiba was in the spotlight several times that year.

Various publications ran a photo of A’keiba and her father attending the American Music Awards together in January, for instance, and Jet put Hammer and A’keiba (and her name, sans apostrophe) on the cover in May.


Delayed celebrity baby name debuts still occur these days, though less often — at least relative to the sheer number of celebrity baby name debuts that we now see on the charts.

The best internet-era example I can think of is Kailand, son of Stevie Wonder and fashion designer Kai Milla (Karen Millard-Morris). He was born in 2001, but his name didn’t debut until 2005 — the year he started showing up to fashion shows (one in February, another in December) with his parents.

Can you think of any other celebrity baby names didn’t debut on time?

Source: Jones, Jerene. “After Tragedy Left Their Hearts Heavier Than Their Metal, Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin Have Risen Again.” People 27 Aug. 1979: 32.


Update, 5/1/16: Forgot to add Shangaleza to this list! Baseball player Dock Ellis welcomed a baby girl named Shangaleza in 1969, but her name didn’t debut until 1971. Why? A mention in the August issue of Sports Illustrated (“On the Lam with the Three Rivers Gang“):

Dock Ellis, the hottest-talking, hottest winning pitcher in the National League, explained that his one-year-old daugher’s name, Shangaleza Talwanga, meant “everything black is beautiful” in Swahili.

The name ended up being a one-hit wonder.

Popular Maori Baby Names, 2015

According to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs and the Maori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori), the country’s most popular Maori names during the second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015 were Maia and Nikau.

Here are the top 10 Maori girl names and boy names of 2014/2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Maia
2. Manaia
3. Anahera
4. Ana
5. Aroha
6. Kaia
7. Hana
8. Ataahua
9. Tia
10. Kora
1. Nikau
2. Ari
3. Manaia
4. Wiremu
5. Kauri
6. Mikaere
7. Rawiri
8. Ihaia
9. Kai
10. Manaaki

The top 10 lists above are fairly different from the Maori baby name rankings of 2013. (I don’t believe a 2014 list was released.)

One confusing difference is the absence of Aria and Ariana. Were they reclassified as non-Maori? Otherwise, Aria and Ariana should have come in first and third on this list, given how popular they’ve been in New Zealand overall lately.

Also confusing is the fact that the rankings don’t refer to corresponding periods of time. The 2013 list covers April 2012 to March 2013, whereas the 2015 list covers July 2014 to June 2015.

Maia and Nikau weren’t among New Zealand’s top ten baby names of 2015, but they did appear in the top 100: Maia was ranked 34th for girls, Nikau 97th for boys.

Source: Most popular Maori baby names in 2015

Name Quotes for the Weekend #37

quote from bridesmaids

From the movie Bridesmaids, bridesmaid Annie (played by Kristen Wiig) being kicked out of first class by flight attendant Steve:

Annie: Whatever you say, Stove.
Steve: It’s Steve.
Annie: “Stove” — what kinda name is that?
Steve: That’s not a name. My name is Steve.
Annie: Are you an appliance?
Steve: No I’m a man, and my name is Steve.

From Mohammed most popular baby name in Israel in The Jerusalem Post:

The report [from the Central Bureau of Statistics] also noted that in 2012 only 36 boys were given the name Ovadia. However, following the death of spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in 2013, 117 babies were given this name and in 2014, 209 newborns were named after the rabbi.

From Why old Japanese women have names in katakana at RocketNews24:

Basically, the katakana names given to baby girls born prior to the 1900s were a result of gender discrimination. The ability to read was not prevalent amongst the poor of that time period, so many families would pay a scholar to help them decide on a splendid name in meaningful kanji for their sons. However, that same measure was almost never taken for daughters. […] Only girls belonging to the most wealthy and noble families, such as the daughters of samurai, would be given names in kanji as an indication of their status.

From Today Translations’ Name Audit Services page:

But more offbeat names can pose problems. How about the Rooneys’ Kai? Kai means ‘pier’ in Estonian, ‘probably’ in Finnish, ‘ocean’ in Hawaiian and Japanese, ‘willow tree’ in the native American language of Navajo, and ‘stop it’ in Yoruba.

And Suri, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ daughter, means ‘pickpocket’ in Japanese, ‘turned sour’ in French and ‘horse mackerels’ in Italian.

From Arabic as an accessory by Naaila Mohammed in The Islamic Monthly:

Arabic, as a spoken language and written text, is something the Western gaze is enamored by, but also terrified of. A quick Google search renders a flood of results about the popularity of Arabic in the non-Arab world. From warnings of things to keep in mind so you don’t end up with a failed Arabic tattoo to white mothers seeking out trendy Arabic baby names, there are numerous examples of how Arabic is made palatable to the white gaze. At the same time, you will find horror stories of students detained for carrying flashcards and study materials in Arabic on a plane, or of a Brooklyn father stabbed by two teenagers who overheard him speaking in Arabic while walking home with his wife and 8-year-old son.

From What Makes a Baby Name Trendy? by Anna of Waltzing More Than Matilda:

I have a non-trendy classic name which is still reasonably popular, and not only has it failed to provide me with a magically charmed life where nothing ever went wrong, its impact has been minimal at best. Meanwhile, my peers with the trendy names of our generation, such as Jodi and Jason, don’t seem to have had their lives ruined by their names.

From Baby names fall from fashion like autumn leaves in The Asahi Shimbun (a Japanese newspaper):

I am a Showa-born man, and here’s my pet peeve: This year, only three girl names ending with “ko” made the top 100 list. Back when I was a schoolboy, the mimeographed list of the names of kids in my class was full of girl names ending with “ko.”

Shigehiko Toyama, a scholar of English literature, once recalled this episode: One day, he received a letter from an American person he had never met, and the envelope was addressed to “Miss Shigehiko Toyama.” He understood the reason immediately. This American had some knowledge of things Japanese, and must have presumed Toyama was a woman because his given name ends with “ko.” An episode such as this is now part of ancient history.

From The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 (2003) By Elizabeth Crawford:

Lamb, Aeta Adelaide (1886-1928) Born in Demerara, where her father was a botanist; she was named Aeta after a palm he had discovered there.

Demerara was a colony in British Guiana, and aeta (or æta) palm refers to Mauritia flexuosa, a South American palm tree.

Want to see more quotes like these? Check out the name quotes category.

Popular Baby Names in Malta, 2014

According to data from Malta’s National Statistics Office, the most popular name-groups in Malta in 2014 were Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella and Luke/Luca/Lucas.

Here are Malta’s top 10 girl and boy name-groups of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
  1. Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella, 97 baby girls
  2. Julia/Yulia/Julianne, 72
  3. Emma/Emmanuela/Ema, 70
  4. Eliza/Elisa/Elizabeth/Elise, 69
  5. Catherine/Katrina/Kate/Katya, 46
  6. Maya/Mia/Myah, 44
  7. Lea/Leah/Leia, 42
  8. Emilia/Emily/Emelie, 41
  9. Amy/Aimee, 39
    • Maria/Marija/Mariah/Marie, 37 [tie]
    • Anna/Hannah/Ann, 37 [tie]
  1. Luke/Luca/Lucas, 98 baby boys
  2. Matthew/Matthias/Matteo, 97
  3. Jacob/Jake, 77
  4. Zachary/Zak/Zack, 59
  5. Michael/Miguel/Mikhail, 53
    • Liam/William, 51 [tie]
    • John/Jean/Jonathan/Juan/Gan, 51 [tie]
  6. Benjamin/Ben, 51
    • Kaiden/Kayden/Kai ,46 [tie]
    • Alexander/Alessandro/Alec, 46 [tie]
  7. Andrew/Andreas/Andre/Andy, 45
  8. Joseph/Beppe/Giuseppe/Josef, 40

Down in 15th place on the boys’ side is “Yannick/Yan” — both are versions of John, and yet they’re not part of the John group, which is tied for 6th.

Speaking of strange things…

The current Maltese birth registration system does not allow for Maltese fonts, which essentially means that names with ċ such as Ċikku or Ċensa; with a ġ such as Ġorġ or Ġanna; and with a ż such as Liża or Ġużi, are out – or at least will be recorded without the essential dots which distinguish the Maltese phonetical sound.

I’ve seen governments (e.g., NWT, California) make excuses about not being able to render minority/ethnic names properly on birth certificates, but I’ve never heard of a country that couldn’t render names from its own national language.

Oh, Malta.

Here are the 2013, 2012, 2009, 2007 and 2006 rankings.

Sources: Naming Babies – National Statistics Office – Malta, Luke and Elena remain most popular names given to newborns, ‘Dotty’ system bars patriot baby names

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2014

According to data from the Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ), the most popular baby names in Quebec in 2014 were Lea and William.

Here are the province’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Lea, 575 baby girls
2. Emma, 569
3. Olivia, 508
4. Florence, 482
5. Chloe, 472
6. Alice, 459
7. Zoe, 422
8. Rosalie, 410
9. Charlie, 386
10. Charlotte, 369
1. William, 773 baby boys
2. Thomas, 733
3. Felix, 711
4. Liam, 695
5. Nathan, 672
6. Jacob, 611
7. Alexis, 594
8. Logan, 593
9. Olivier, 582
10. Samuel, 579

Charlotte replaces Juliette in the girls’ top 10, and Logan replaces Gabriel in the boys’ top 10.

The biggest moves within the top 10 were the fall of Samuel (down 7 spots) the rises of both Chloe and Thomas (up 5 spots each).

Quebec is one of the wonderful places that releases all of its baby name data (yay!) so now let’s check out some of the names at the other end of the spectrum.

The following names were bestowed only once in Quebec last year:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Aberdeen, Acacia, Alghalia, Allegresse, Alimata, Alypier, Amorelle Simo, Anabia, Aonnhi Io, Armiella Sylene, Astoria, Ausalie, Auxanne, Ayqut, Balsam, Berangere, Brunaica, Bremellia, Cassou, Coumba, Coramely, Cydra, Dahlianne, Delnaz, Edmaelle, Ejona, Eliabelle, Elielle, Eliora, Elisapie, Elowen, Eluvia, Ember, Eolie, Eunicia, Fedaelle, Felune, Greyelle, Hyzalie, Inuluk, Isatis*, Izalee, Janabelle, Jedia, Juniper, Kalixie, Kazelly, Koubrah, Lessika Sibi, Leocadie, Lilafee, Lilwenn Sage, Losokola Victoria, Lysea, Lysmee, Macdara, Massylia, Mavie, Mayura, Mazaly, Mervedie Hope, Miaphee, Mijanie, Moon, Myrannie, Nauralie, Neelamy, Nektaria, Nephthalie, Nima, Nourcine, Nuunia, Oonq, Orkida, Orzala, Ozia, Phiji, Poeme, Prunille, Quinn Logan, Quppiak, Ralph-Emma, Rivlynca, Rizelane, Rosemma, Runa, Saby-Lina, Sauriane, Sensylia, Sheltoina Nissie, Sherodie Norah, Siella, Sillija, Siska, Sonoma, Spring Kimberly, Stratus, Sylenad, Syrianne, Tassadit, Taurie, Taurielle, Tillia, Toltzy, Tshiala, Twiggy, Upoma, Velesie, Venba, Yaralee Phedianie, Yebga Johanne, Yolbie, Zazyl Alarik, Asher Zelig, Ateronhiahere, Audric, Avigdor, Benjamin Rebel, Carther, Carlvin, Charvey, Clyvens, Curry-Tianlang, Dannic, Darwin, Detroit, Dillis Della Mcnjiss, Dimaben, Donadel Theo, Dzoti-Dylan, Ednershley Josue, Eluann, Enxu, Eudovic Nicanor, Exode Baelo, Faucher-Levasseur, Fenryr, Fulgence, Fundy, Glennfrey, Glory-Honneuramons, Godlycharacter, Gonzalo Kai Fei, Harley Davidson, Heliodore, Hugolin, Imix, Jayssijay, Joelvino, Jusipi, Kaherahere, Kallytrie, Karmany Alain, Kerfala, Klooff, La Fleche, Leith, Leolo, Lowry Nessi, Madden-Steeve, Malorik, Markernald, Maverix, Maxange, Med Reda, Maydenlee, Micipsa, Monzonto Bertinel, Mor Talla, Mordechai Max, Namory, Neven, Nick-Jovi, Nils, Noeliam*, Nowlan, Ossimbo, Providence Nathanael, Renzo, Rozzel Emmanuel, Savio, Sederi, Sphinx Jones, Syphax, Taliby, Tauren, Techeley, Thymote, Trencely, Turic, Tylian, Valliant-Bob, Vanguard, Vyber Biao, William-Wallace, Willie Ittuk, Y Rambo, Xquenda, Yansyl, Yartine, Yizo, York, Yulrick, Zacchaeus Righteous, Zeegar, Zineddine Zidane, Zino

*Isatis is a genus of Old World plants/herbs that includes woad (Isatis tinctoria).

**Noeliam might be a mashup of Noel + Liam. Maybe his parents are big Oasis fans?

Here are Quebec’s top baby names of 2013, 2012, 2009 and 2006, if you’d like to compare.

Source: RRQ – List of Baby Names in Québec

Popular Baby Names in Malta, 2013

Malta’s top baby names of 2013 came out a few weeks ago.

According to data from the National Statistics Office, the most popular name-groups last year were Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella and Luke/Luca/Lucas.

Here are Malta’s top 20 girl name-groups and top 20 boy name-groups of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
  1. Elena/Elenia/Helena/Ella, 106 baby girls (5.5% of all girls)
  2. Eliza/Elisa/Elizabeth/Elise, 78 (4.0%)
  3. Julia/Yulia/Julianne, 69 (3.6%)
  4. Emma/Emmanuela/Ema, 51 (2.6%)
  5. Maya/Mia/Myah, 47 (2.4%)
  6. Maria/Marija/Mariah/Marie, 42 (2.2%)
  7. Lea/Leah/Leia, 37 (1.9%)
  8. Martina/Martine, 36 (1.9%)
  9. Christina/Christa/Christabel/Krystle, 35 (1.8%)
    • Kailey/Kai/Kaleigh, 34 (1.8%)
    • Catherine/Katrina/Kate/Katya, 34 (1.8%)
    • Emilia/Emily/Emelie, 34 (1.8%)
  10. Amy/Aimee, 32 (1.6%)
  11. Anna/Hannah/Ann, 31 (1.6%)
    • Mikela/Makaila/Michelle, 27 (1.4%)
    • Alison/Alice/Alicia/Alyssa/Aly, 27 (1.4%)
  12. Sophia/Sophie, 26 (1.3%)
    • Jade/Giada, 22 (1.1%)
    • Alexandra/Alessia/Alexia/Lexi, 22 (1.1%)
  13. Aaliyah/Alaya, 21 (1.1%)
    • Chloe/Khloe, 20 (1.0%)
    • Amber/Amberley, 20 (1.0%)
    • Karla/Carla/Carly, 20 (1.0%)
    • Jasmine/Yasmine/Yasmeen, 17 (0.9%)
    • Nina, 17 (0.9%)
    • Faith, 17 (0.9%)
  14. Hailey/Hailee/Hayleigh, 16 (0.8%)
    • Nicole/Nicola/Nicky, 14 (0.7%)
    • Rachel/Raquel, 14 (0.7%)
    • Keira/Kyra, 14 (0.7%)
    • Claire/Clara/Clarisse, 14 (0.7%)
  1. Luke/Luca/Lucas, 106 baby boys (5% of all boys)
  2. Matthew/Matthias/Matteo, 93 (4.4%)
  3. Jacob/Jake, 70 (3.3%)
  4. Zachary/Zak/Zack, 56 (2.6%)
    • John/Jean/Jonathan/Juan/Gan, 53 (2.5%)
    • Michael/Miguel/Mikhail, 53 (2.5%)
  5. Andrew/Andreas/Andre/Andy, 46 (2.2%)
    • Kaiden/Kayden/Kai, 45 (2.1%)
    • Alexander/Alessandro/Alec, 45 (2.1%)
  6. Aiden/Ayden, 43 (2.0%)
  7. Liam/William, 42 (2.0%)
  8. Nicholas/Nick/Nicolai, 41 (1.9%)
  9. Benjamin/Ben, 40 (1.9%)
  10. Daniel/Dan/Danil, 33 (1.5%)
    • Isaac/Izaak, 32 (1.5%)
    • Mason/Maison, 32 (1.5%)
  11. Jack/Jackson/Jacques, 30 (1.4%)
    • Jaden/Jayden/Jadon, 29 (1.4%)
    • Thomas/Tommas/Tommy, 29 (1.4%)
  12. Nathan/Nathaniel, 28 (1.3%)
  13. Julian/Julien/Guiliano, 27 (1.3%)
    • Gabriel/Gabrijel/Gabryl, 24 (1.1%)
    • Adam, 24 (1.1%)
    • Joseph/Beppe/Giuseppe/Josef, 23 (1.1%)
    • Noah, 23 (1.1%)
    • James/Jamie/Jayme, 22 (1.0%)
    • Samuel/Sam, 22 (1.0%)
    • Keiran/Kyran, 22 (1.0%)

Some of the unusual names registered in Malta last year were Aizley, Amporn, Breeze, Chinenye, Coco, Delson, Diyas, Enonima, Freedom, Gundula, Jaceyrhaer, Kobbun, Limoni, Love, Netsrik, Summer, Symphony, Zarkareia and Zveyrone.

Malta’s 2012 list was topped by Eliza/Lisa/Elsie/Elyse/Bettina and Matthew/Matthias/Matteo.

Sources: NSO – Naming Babies: 2013, Quality and Amporn top the list of unusual names

Popular Hawaiian Baby Names


Which Hawaiian names are popular in Hawaii right now?

I read through the current list of top baby names in Hawaii and picked out as many traditional Hawaiian names as I could. Here they are, plus their definitions (and their missing ‘okinas!).

Popular Hawaiian Names for Girls

  • Leilani, 19 baby girls, means “heavenly (lani) flowers/child (lei).”
  • Mahina, 15, means “moon” or “moonlight.”
  • Kalena, 13, means “the (ka) yellow (lena).” Yellow was once symbolic of the alii, Hawaii’s powerful royal class (source).
  • Kaila, 11, means “style, fashion.”
  • Hali’a, 9, means “sudden remembrance, memory.”
  • Kai’a, 9, means “the (ka) fish (i’a).”
  • Kailani, 8, means “heavenly (lani) sea (kai).”
  • Keani, 7, means “the (ke) soft breeze (ani).”
  • Mehana, 7, means “warmth, heat.”
  • Hi’ilani, 6, means “held in the arms (hi’i) of heaven (lani).”
  • Kailana, 6, means “calm (lana) sea (kai).”
  • Kamaile, 6, means “the (ka) maile vine.”
  • Lilinoe, 6, means “fine mist.”
  • Malie, 6, means “calm.”
  • Anuhea, 5, means “cool, soft fragrance.”
  • Hi’ilei, 5, means “child (lei) held in the arms (hi’i).”
  • Ilihia, 5, means “excited” or “awe-stricken.”
  • Kawena, 5, means “the (ka) glow (wena).”
  • Kealani, 5, means “heavenly (lani) whiteness (kea).”
  • Lea, 5, is the name of a Hawaiian goddess.
  • Mahealani, 5, means “sixteenth day of the lunar month; night of the full moon” (source).
  • Nai’a, 5, means “dolphin.”
  • Noelani, 5, means “heavenly (lani) mist (noe).”

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said Malia (ranked 21st overall) was the most popular Hawaiian name for girls in 2013, but Malia is is just the Hawaiian form of the non-Hawaiian name Mary, so I didn’t include it. I didn’t include several other names (like Keoni, Hawaiian for “John”) for the same reason.

Popular Hawaiian Names for Boys

  • Kai, 38 baby boys, means “sea.” Kai was the 19th most popular boy name overall in Hawaii last year.
  • Kainoa, 21, means “the (ka) namesake (inoa).”
  • Kaimana, 20, means “power (mana) of the sea (kai).”
  • Koa, 16, means “warrior, brave” or is a reference to the koa tree.
  • Nainoa, 11, means “the (na) namesakes (inoa)” — na is the article used for plural nouns.
  • Makoa, 10, means “fearless.”
  • Nakoa, 10, means “”the (ne) brave ones/koa trees (koa).”
  • Kana’i, 9, means “the (ka) conqueror (na’i).”
  • Makana, 9, means “gift.”
  • Ka’eo, 8, means “full of knowledge.”
  • Kahiau, 8, means “generous.”
  • Kainalu, 8, means “billowy (nalu) sea (kai).”
  • Keanu, 8, means “the (ke) coolness (anu).”
  • Noa, 8, means “commoner/free man.”
  • Kaleo, 7, means “the (ka) sound/voice (leo).”
  • Kamaha’o, 6, means “wondrous.”
  • Kanoa, 6, means “the (ka) commoner/free man (noa).”
  • Kekoa, 6, means “the (ke) brave one/koa tree (koa).”
  • La’akea, 6, means “sacred (la’a) white/light (kea).”
  • Makai, 6, means “toward (ma) the sea (kai).”
  • Mana, 6, means “supernatural or divine power.”
  • Alaka’i, 5, means “leader.”
  • Kaiea, 5, means “rising (ea) sea/tide (kai).”
  • Ka’imipono, 5, means “the (ka) seeker of righteousness (‘imi pono).”
  • Kalani, 5, means “the (ka) heavenly one/royal one (lani).”
  • Kamakani, 5, means “the (ka) wind (makani).”
  • Koamalu, 5, means “brave (koa) peace (malu).”

While I was gathering all those definitions, I also found a bunch of other interesting Hawaiian names, such as…

  • ‘Aukai, “seafarer” (‘au, “travel” + kai, “sea”). It’s like the Hawaiian version of Sailor.
  • Kapi’ioho, “curly hair.” It’s like the Hawaiian version of Crispin (Latin crispus, “curly”).
  • ‘Opunui, “big-bellied” (‘opu, “belly” + nui, “big”). Big bellies were a status symbol in old Hawaii. According to one source, “the elite lived lavishly, were feasting constantly, and the highest chiefs were distinguished by their corpulence.”
  • Leiko is a hybrid Hawaiian-Japanese name: lei, “flowers/child” + ko, “child.”

Do you have a favorite Hawaiian name? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Source: Bodley, John H. Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System. Lanham, MD: AltaMira-Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.