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Popular Hawaiian Baby Names

Even if you don't live on a lush volcanic island, a Hawaiian name bestows some balmy island magic on your pint-sized spellbinder.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #20

Meaning: Calm

Malia is a Polynesian-Hawaiian form of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and a prominent historical name in Western culture. In Hawaiian, Malia – mah-LEE-yah – is a word for "calm," a meaning as peaceful and flowing as the sound of its three syllables. Malia Obama is the eldest daughter of a president with important roots in Hawaii, which might account for the name's current popularity in the Aloha state.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #41

Meaning: From the sea, ocean

Kai is simple, direct, multicultural and evocative. Pronounced "KY," like "bye," the word means "forgiveness" in Japanese, "sustenance" in Maori and "willow tree" in Navajo. Kai can be a boy's or girl's name but is currently riding high as a name for baby boys in Hawaii, with growing popularity as a middle name in both Hawaii and the rest of the States.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #65

Meaning: Cool breeze over the mountains

Keanu is an exotic celebration of nature. It was introduced to the wider world as an ultra-cool boy's name by actor Keanu Reeves, who is himself part Hawaiian. The name comes from the Hawaiian "ke," or "one," and "anu," or "cool." No doubt your little man is "the one," and he's naturally pretty cool, so what are you waiting for?


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #51

Meaning: Child of heaven, heavenly flowers

Leilani is a melodic, heavenly name that evokes the fragrant beauty of the flower lei, a symbol of affection, celebration, welcome and peace. The Hawaiian word is a royal designation for a beautiful princess of hearts. "You are my paradise completed, you are my dream come true" are lyrics from "Sweet Leilani," a song written by Harry Owens for his daughter Leilani – and a sentimental lullaby for yours.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #82

Meaning: Namesake, free-flowing sea

Kainoa has gained a lot of traction as a boy's name in Hawaii after years as a popular handle for baby girls. The name is typically given to mean "unrestricted sea" or "sea of freedom" from the Hawaiian "kai" meaning "sea water," and "noa" meaning "freedom." Kainoa is also used as a middle name.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #45

Meaning: Style

This small dynamo is stylin' from the start – Kaila, usually pronounced KAY–lah but sometimes KY-lah, is also linked to the Hebrew for "laurel crown." She's a big personality in a small package, an effortless scene-stealer and trendsetter who wins hearts and minds on and off the runway. But you, and she, will spend some time educating people about how to say her sweet, simple name.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #78

Meaning: Sea and sky

What could be more heavenly than a glimpse of your exquisite baby Kailani, a lovely name that comes from the Hawaiian "ka" or "kai" for "the sea" and "lani" for "heaven"? Kailani is a name for a princess – her petite majesty who rules the sea and sky – and your heart.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #95

Meaning: Warrior

Your newborn Koa bravely faces the challenges of a startling new environment, mastering each novel skill with aplomb. In the Hawaii, Koa is the name for the beautiful flowering acacia tree, whose wood becomes surfboards, musical instruments and canoes. Koa transforms every opportunity into an advantage – a short name for a little guy with big impact.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #1

Meaning: Rest, comfort

Noah might have preferred a post-flood existence in the Hawaiian Islands, where he could have traded the ark for an outrigger and lived in a tropical paradise. The Biblical Hebrew name is first-pick for Hawaiian baby boys, as it is on the mainland. Little Noah will do fine with his own water wings and boogie board as he explores the boundaries of his Aloha state world.


Popularity rank in Hawaii: #1

Meaning: Whole, universal

Emma is No. 1 for baby girls across the U.S. and in Hawaii, a universally popular name that comes from the German language. Throughout Western history, Emma has been a moniker for royalty and is today the given name of actresses, authors, athletes and scientists. The name has a Hawaiian history as well. Queen Emma of Hawaii was the consort of 19th-century King Kamehameha IV from 1856 to his death in 1863.

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