Hawaii is known for many things: Beautiful landscapes, unbelievable beaches, mouth-watering food, and gorgeous people. There isn’t one person around (seriously, search it out) that hasn’t been to, plans on traveling to, or wishes to be in Hawaii at some point in their life, including right this very second! There is a reason it is one of the most popular tourist spots in the whole entire world! Nestled deep in the cool blue waters of the central Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is what one may refer to as the baby state of the United States because Hawaii did not receive statehood in the US until August of 1959!
While there is much to brag about this beautiful state made up entirely of islands, Hawaiian baby names don’t get much steam. Well, all that changes here and now. Hawaiian baby names are unique, fun, inspiring, and take your breath away beautiful.
Just like the people who inhabit the little piece of heaven, the names are divinely inspired, connecting heaven and earth with depth and musicality. Many Hawaiian names can be used for girls or boys, while some are oh-so-feminine, and others straight up “Rocky”-style macho. No matter what their taste, if the parents-to-be love the beach, with its turquoise blue waters and powdery sand, fiery volcanoes, and parties rocking and swaying underneath the stars, this baby name list is a sure winner.
Kalani is a gender-neutral name. It can be either feminine or masculine and would be a great choice for parents who prefer to keep the gender unknown until the big “D” day. Kalani simply means “of the heavens”. This name is extremely rare in the United States, the UK, and basically anywhere but the islands of Hawaii. It is also a surname. This name is smooth and sophisticated. It brings to mind great eagles soaring among the clouds, strong thunderstorms, or even angelic beings. It's easy to see a beautiful little girl and woman with this name, as well as a brave little boy or charming man. Kalani will definitely be one of those names that make other people stop and ask questions and how often can people answer: oh, it’s Hawaiian…!
Alika is pronounced Ah-lee-kah. It is a Hawaiian baby name that can also be gender neutral. Alika is a form of Alex and has Greek roots. The name Alika means, wait for the chills to settle in…. "guardian or protector". So, in other words, it basically means strong, because who has ever heard of a guardian or protector that was weak? Any parent would be on their 'A' game if they chose this moniker for their brand new little miss or mister. For a little history lesson, Alika the Hawaiian form of Alex, is taken from the name Alexander, which goes back far enough and was taken from the old Greek name Alexandros. Alexandros means to ward off, defend, to help, or to protect. Talk about a would-be kid turned adult with a strong heroic name!
Maleko is pronounced "male (as in man) -ee-ko". Well, we will just throw this one out there, but since the word male is at the beginning of this name, we will go with the ruling that this is indeed a boy's name. Maleko is the Hawaiian form of the very common name Mark, it's just much more exotic. Mark is a name with many roots and forms, from Celtic to English, Irish, and even Latin. And talk about the man-factor, this name means "manly, virile, steed, horse" and even "god of war". There is no doubt about it that the boy rocking this name will have the ladies swooning and the fellas wanting to hang out. Maleko doesn’t only sound cool, its easy to spell and is easy to say, so the parents (that will obviously be asked a thousand times) to repeat it will do so with ease.
Bane rhymes with sane, pain, train, and stay in your lane, and it's very easy to pronounce. We will stop the fun because this name has a very serious meaning. Bane means "long-awaited child". Bane is a name for a boy and its origins are thought to be uniquely Hawaiian. There are many parents-to-be out there that can relate to waiting (a very long time) for a child, so this name ought to ring out mighty special to a mom and/or dad. The English word definition of bane isn’t of a particular joyfulness because it means: a cause a great distress or annoyance.
But the Hawaiians have a knack for taking things no one else could imagine using and making them straight up amazing. Think roasting pigs underground for countless hours…? Hello, beach party under the stars! And just in case the English definition makes those parents want to chicken out, the name Cecilia, means "blind" and Claudia means "lame", and that didn’t stop them from gracing the top of the baby name charts year after year!
Leilani is pronounced “lay-lawn-ee”. Leilani is a Hawaiian baby name for a girl and it has a couple of different meanings, and each one is equally beautiful. This name can mean "child of heaven, heavenly, and heavenly flowers". Wow! It is so easy to see a sweet, lovely little girl dancing about and running down the beach with flowers in her hair. Leilani has actually made some of the popularity charts in the US in 2016, with a ranking at number 159. There are also a few famous Leilanis to date, some are actresses; Leilani Jones and Leilani Sarelle, while Leilani Bishop is a model, and there is even a Leilani Kai- the ring name for American pro-wrestler Patty Seymour. So as sweet as it may sound, it packs a nice breezy Hawaiian punch.
Lilo is a Hawaiian name for a baby girl. It is pronounced “lee-low” and means generous one. This name might ring a bell because Lilo was the name of a very cute, albeit very small heroine of the Disney animated picture Lilo and Stich. Stich was Lilo’s funny looking pal from another world, and they both seemed to get themselves in plenty of trouble. The movie was adorable and filled with funny and sentimental moments and the name Lilo rings just about as true. The name is definitely fun, simple, but with a meaning as deep as this one it can stand the test of time, all the while keeping someone young at heart with a life-long pep in their step. It’s easy to picture a mop of curls and a set of dimples with this lovely name.
Okay don’t get all Matrixed out on us. Yes, there is one very popular actor named Keanu Reeves, but this name is pretty awesome too. Keanu is the Hawaiian baby name for a boy, and it means "cool breeze over the mountains". What a kicking name for a surfing or beachy kind of guy. Honestly, with a name like this, it is easy to picture a barefoot toddler combing the beach for shells and toddler chicks! This name is exotic and anything but mild. There is just something about picturing a cool breeze over the mountains that makes everyone want to stop and take in the view. A little boy named Keanu is sure to have a life filled with adventures and lots and lots of sand.
Kala is a Hawaiian baby name that can be pronounced “call-ah” or “kay-lah” and it simply means "princess". This name Kala, is the Hawaiian form of the name Sarah. Sarah is a Hebrew name taken from the old testament wife of Abraham. Originally her name was Sarai, meaning "quarrelsome", but after giving birth to a son named Isaac (at a very old age) God commanded that her name be changed to Sarah. Sarah is an uber-popular baby name, but its Hawaiian form is rare making it a top choice for trendy but quietly old-fashioned parents. It is truly the best of both worlds. One cool side note, the name Sara in Arabic and Hebrew also means high ranking, so if parents are looking for a name for a show stopper, Kala is a good bet!
Noe is a gender-neutral name in that dependent on the meaning the parents-to-be take, it can be for a girl or a boy. The Hawaiian preference for the name is for girls, and it is pronounced “No” as in yes or Noe, and it means "mist or misty". The other way the name Noe is used - for English, German, Dutch, or French - is for a boy and is pronounced “no-ee”. This form of Noe is taken from the name Noah, as in Noah’s Ark. Remember the guy who builds the huge boat, and everyone laughs at him because it has never rained before and the animals come on board two by two, and just as they seal the door, the rains come tumbling down? Yep, him. Noah and/or ‘Noach’ means "comfort" in Hebrew.
Moana should be a very familiar name given the popularity of the recent Disney hit movie of the same name, and although the title character, Moana, was a girl, the name is actually gender neutral. Moana is a Hawaiian baby name that means "ocean, deep expanse of water, or deep sea". This name is Polynesian in its origin and encompasses strength, beauty, and depth. Disney’s blockbuster Moana features the incredible journey of a young woman named Moana through the seas to find a way to save her people, and just like the character in this movie, this name symbolizes greatness. Moana will definitely be a girl or boy with big dreams, passions, and aspirations to do something greater than what seems possible. The spelling is easy and it’s another name that is quite simple to pronounce despite its exotic flavor.
Kekoa is pronounced "Key-Ko-ah" and is the Hawaiian baby name for a boy that means "the brave one, the strong one, fearless, or the warrior". So, let’s just pause for the bravado behind this one. This name is taken from the Koa tree, a tree found only on the Hawaiian Islands and this name is truly for a "manly man". Parents wanting to make a statement should certainly consider this moniker for their soon-to-be son. While it will obviously look awesome on the back of any jersey, it is also not impossible to see it on the other side of Doctor or Professor. Whichever career path little Kekoa finds himself on - one day in the very far future - people can bet their bottom dollar that he will succeed 99 and three-quarters percent, guaranteed.
Lea is pronounced “lay-ah” and is an English originating name turned Hawaiian baby name for a girl meaning "goddess of canoe building". The English form of the name Leah, is taken from one of two main sources; the Hebrew name Leah meaning "weary", biblically speaking: she was the first wife of Jacob and bore him seven children, (for the record he also married her sister). There is also a Chaldean name Leah which means "mistress or ruler". Out of all three definitions and historical context in mind, we prefer the Hawaiian version. Canoes are sleek and powerful boats that are used to travel short and long distances in Hawaii and just about everywhere else in the world. However, canoes and canoe building are such a big part of Hawaiian history and culture there are actually quite a few gods and goddesses related to the craft.
Koi is added to this list in the gender-neutral zone due to differing preferences for it across the globe. Hawaiians treat the name as a masculine one and pronounce it as “Ko-I” or “Koy” and it means to "urge or implore". This name can also be found in Japanese cultures as well, although it is a feminine name and means well… "gray fish". Yet again, Hawaiians win the competition for better spin. The Hawaiian version of the name Koi comes from the name Troy. Troy comes from the Irish Gaelic word "Troightheach", which means "foot soldier". This name is rough and tough, but also has just cute-enough appeal. One can almost picture a boy or girl soccer star named Koi accepting their Olympic gold medal. What a beautiful name, what a beautiful picture!
Alamea is a supremely rich and beautiful Hawaiian baby name for a girl and is pronounced “ah-la-may-ah” or “ah’la-mee-ah”. Alamea means precious or whole. Obviously, the name Alamea has never made the US popularity charts or any other charts in the world. But that doesn’t mean it's not the right time for it to make its rise to fame. This buttery feminine name is sure to have people asking questions and then swooning when they hear the origin and meaning. It is not too hard to spell and also fairly easy to sound out, so it really should not stop any parents from considering this original gem. There will not be any other little Alameas around to get the lunchboxes or backpacks confused. This name is absolutely one in a million.
The Hawaiian baby name Nana, is a feminine name. it can be pronounced one of two ways, either “nah-nah” or “nan-ah”. Hawaiians use the word Nana for two things, one is a month in Spring and the other is a star. This name also has Spanish origins and can mean "grace". This name can bring about lots of emotions about because many folks refer to one or both of their grandmothers as Nana. But as old as this name may sound it can still be quite hip. Most of the names people would consider “old-fashioned” are making a quick and sure-fire comeback and Nana is no different. Nana also comes with quirky nickname: Nanny! So, if parents out there are thinking their future daughter-to-be might be good with the kiddos, this name is for sure - a keeper.
Kai is yet another gender-neutral baby names found in Hawaii. Kai is pronounced the same way one would pronounce the first part of the word KITE. Kai is gaining popularity in the states and is currently ranked at (believe it or not) number 99 for boys in 2018, down from the 90th spot last year. Well, while that is certainly a rare occasion for Hawaiian names, Kai is more of a multicultural name. The Hawaiian form of the name Kai means "the sea", while the Finnish meaning is “rejoice”, and the Scottish Welsh meaning is "keeper of the keys". Kai is a name that has been quietly floating around for some time, it has been found as a name for one of the knights in King Arthur's round table and also the name of the boy abducted by the Snow Queen in Hans Christian Anderson's classic of the same title. This name is clever, cute, and totally cool.
Allana is a Hawaiian name for a baby girl. It is pronounced "Ah-la-nah" and it means serenity, calmness, and tranquility. This pristine and soft name would be perfect for any family hoping to welcome a sweet and loving little girl. This name is similar to the English name Alana, which is derived from a Gaelic baby name meaning (although no one is quite sure) but possibly might be the female word for man or even the word ‘child’. The name is exotic sounding and easy to spell, but it is quite possible there will be other Alanas, Elanas, or Elanis in her classroom. The name Elana has become increasingly popular in recent years and is the title character of Disney’s new animated series Eleanor of Avalor. This cute princess is anything but calm, quiet and shy. She is the ruler of her kingdom and we are sure a future Allana will be too!
Kanye is a multicultural name with different meanings depending on what part of the globe it is used. The name Kayne is typically used for boys while there has been the occasional baby girl given this moniker. The Hawaiian Kayne means “free”, while the Nigerian name Kanye means “let’s give (God praise)”. This name has jumped up the popularity chart due to one main factor: Kanye West. The rapper turned mogul musical genius that happens to be married to none other than Kim K. Kayne West has a style that is unlike many of the other rappers in the industry, using cleverness and witty phrases to get listeners to really dive into his lyrics. Any baby boy with this name is sure to grow up to be someone quirky, clever, and incredibly special.
The baby names Oline and Olina are Hawaiian baby names for a boy and a girl. The girl version of the name is pronounced "Oh-lee-nah" while the boy is "Oh-lean". This cute and catchy little name means "joyous". There is also a Greek meaning for the feminine name, Olina, which is “light”. While the name Olina is not very popular in the US (yet) it has some major appeal with its beachy feel and ballerina-like quality, it is the perfect name for a sweet baby girl. Oline, with its more masculine structure, is also appealing for boys; it's simple and sophisticated enough to have people itching with curiosity for its meaning and origin. Neither Oline or Olina have yet to make any sort of popular baby name chart but similar to the name Luna (which at one point no one had really ever heard), they probably will soon.
Malina is a Hawaiian baby name for a girl but it also has many other meanings in other parts of the world. The Hawaiian version of the name means "calming or soothing", kind of like a hammock on the beach. This name also has a Hebrew meaning, which is "from the tower". As becoming the usual around here, Hawaiians win again when it comes to the essence of reasoning and meaning behind baby names! Some people say Malina is also similar to the name Melina, which means "peace". Whichever version parents prefer, this name is graceful and has a velvety feel like most Hawaiian baby girl names. Malina is sure to be a favorite to upcoming parents to be that are looking for something not only precious but beautiful, tender-hearted and with just the perfect amount of sass.
Sources: babynames.net, babble.com, babynames.com, nameberry.com, momjunction.com