Maybe you visited there once and fell in love with the lush landscape and
bright sun. Or maybe you have a Tutu Wahine or Tutu Kane who you love very much and want to honor by bestowing their name upon your baby. No matter the reason, baby names that are inspired by the Aloha State all have one thing in common: They’re melodic, meaningful, and oh so beautiful. So if you’re expecting a girl, these Hawaiian girl names are popular on the mainland — and everywhere else.
If Hawaii or Hawaiian culture is your inspiration
for a baby name, you actually have lots of options to choose from. Why? Well, quite a few Hawaiian baby names are gender-neutral traditionally. Fitting for both a boy or girl, Hawaiian names have only in recent times seen a shift toward gender-specific baby name usage. As for who got to choose the name of a newborn baby in Hawaiian culture, that honor went to the elders, a close family member, or the parents themselves. Names could be picked via a vision, an ancestor, or even based on a baby's personality.
Get ready for some big-time fun as you take a virtual trip to the Big Island with these Hawaiian baby girl names.
The name Kaia means “to rejoice” or “sea.” If you’re looking for a single syllable Hawaiian baby girl name, the nickname Kai is also very cute. It’s ranking right up there as a
popular baby girl name, so be prepared to find a few Kaia’s in your kiddo’s preschool class. 2 Leilani
If you want to give your child a name fit for a princess, then Leilani is it. It means “heaven, royal,” thanks to the stem “lani,” and “lei, flowers, child,” due to “lei.” Don’t be fooled by that “I” in the name, though: The name is pronounced lay-LAH-nee, not lee-lan-ee.
Many Hawaiian girl names are based in water and nature, and Kailani is no exception. It means “sea and sky,” and can be gender-neutral. Kailani has a few nicknames, such as Kaia, Kai, or Lani.
Oliana is a girls’ name of several different origins, including Spanish. But it’s the Hawaiian version that has the meaning of “oleander,” which is a beautiful flower. In an interesting twist, the plant oleander is also actually poisonous! This name joins the ranks of other pretty but poisonous plant-inspired names, such as Ivy and Azalea.
5 Aolani Constantine Johnny/Moment/Getty Images
The beauty of Hawaiian baby names is that they take two concepts and bring them together to create a unique, amazing name. Such is the case with Aolani, a lovely sounding name if ever there were one. But when you understand the meaning of Aolani, (Hawaiian “ao” = cloud + “lani” = sky/heaven/royal), a baby named after a heavenly cloud sounds, well, heavenly.
Floral baby names are fun, and if you’re looking for a flowery Hawaiian baby girl’s name, look no further than Roselani. It means “heavenly rose,” and is mostly of Hawaiian origin.
“Heavenly flower” or “royal offspring.” The choice is yours when you give your baby the name Pualani. The name breaks down into “pua” which means “flower/offspring” and “lani,” meaning “heaven/sky/royal.”
Welp, you can’t get much more Hawaiian than Aloha. It means “joyful sharing of love,” and while it can be a baby name, it’s most often associated with being a greeting.
If pregnancy has made you glow, then Wena is an ideal name for your baby. It means “glow” in Hawaiian, and is a popular name.
10 Alamea The Good Brigade/DigitalVision/Getty Images
It’s as clichéd as it comes, but when your baby came into your life, you just felt complete. And this Hawaiian baby name means just that: “whole” and “precious,” which pretty much describes this stage of your life.
For a daddy’s girl in the making, there’s no better name than Apikaila. It means “my father is everything.” You can give your girl the nicknames Api, Kaila, or even Laila.
There’s nothing more addictive than a newborn baby’s scent. So soak up that delish scent by naming your baby Ke'ala. It breaks down into “ke” which means “one” and ''ala” meaning “fragrant.”
Although Malie has many origins (think Hebrew, French, Latin, and so on), it’s really popular in Hawaii. It means “calm” in Hawaiian, and might be ideal for a baby that has a gentle, loving spirit.
Even though Hawaiian baby girl names might make you think of warm summer days and ocean breezes, Haukea is a beautiful name. It means “white snow” with the Hawaiian word “hau” meaning snow, and “kea” meaning white. If you’re having a winter baby, Haukea just might hook you.
15 Kanani middelveld/E+/Getty Images
You look at your little girl and can’t get over how gorgeous she is. That’s what makes the name Kanani so perfect. The baby girl’s name means “beauty” and, of course, is of Hawaiian origin.
Imagine waking up in Oahu, looking out over the beautiful scenery and seeing a mist rising. Well, that might be the inspiration for the name Noelani, which means “heavenly mist.” You can’t help but imagine it once you know the meaning.
Your baby might not be born yet, but you’re constantly cooing and cradling your cute bump. Yes, you’re already in love with your little sweetie, so consider Kaipo. Pronounced “Kai-poh,” it means “sweetheart” or “darling.” It is a
gender-neutral name, too. 18 Kau’i
Doesn’t every parent think their baby is perfect? If you can’t stop staring at your little girl’s gorgeous face, you might love the name Kau’i. It comes from the Hawaiian words “ka” and “u’I” which means youth or beauty. Put ‘em together, and Kau’i means “youthful beauty.” And if that apostrophe is throwing you off, Kau’i is pronounced “ka-oo-ey.”
Let’s say you’ve been TTC for a while now, and you’re elatedly expecting. Celebrate your little gift by calling her just that: Makana. It means “gift” in Hawaiian, and is also a gender-neutral name. Not sure which syllable to stress? Makana is pronounced Ma-KA-na.
20 Lei Jessica Peterson/Tetra images/Getty Images
Leis are synonymous with Hawaiian culture. That’s what makes the name Lei so lovely. Pronounced “lay” in the Hawaiian language, the name means “flowers” or “child.”
Sure, you might think that it looks like “mami,” but Momi (pronounced MO-mee) is a gem of a name — literally. Momi means “pearl,” which is so pretty when you’re considering Hawaiian baby girl names.
It’s the dream of any parent to see their child reach their maximum potential, right? As such, you’ll adore Iolana, a Hawaiian baby name. It means “to soar” and is pronounced “ay-oh-LA-nah.”
If the name Keanu gives you
John Wick vibes, that’s certainly understandable. But the actor, who is also partially of Hawaiian descent, sports a gender-neutral name that has become super popular in recent years (no shock there). The name means “cool breeze,” and is pronounced key-AH-nu. 24 Kiana
A Hawaiian baby girl’s name, Kiana is very similar to its English counterpart, Diana. The only notable difference is that the “I” in Kiana is pronounced like an “e.” That’s why Kiana is pronounced “kee-AH-na” and not “kai-AH-na.”
25 Mele NickyLloyd/E+/Getty Images
You might recognize the name Mele from the Hawaiian phrase for “Merry Christmas song, which is “Mele Kalikimaka.” However, the first part, Mele, means “song” in Hawaiian, too. It’s pronounced “Meh-lee,” and is the wise way to say Merry Christmas to you, as the song goes.
You might recognize this name from Malia Obama, the daughter of Michelle and President Barack Obama, who was born and raised in Hawaii. Although a traditional Hawaiian name, it is considered the island’s version of Mary or Maria and means “beloved.”
Pronounced Na-nee, this name means “beauty” or “glory.” It is often used as a root in lots of other names, which is why many Hawaiian girl names end in “nani.” You might also recognize it as the name of Lilo’s older sister in
Lilo & Stitch. 28 Kailani
Originating from the words “kai” and “lani,” which mean “ocean, sea” and “sky, heaven” respectively, this is a strong Hawaiian name for a girl. Another
traditional name from the island, it has been popularized outside of Hawaii in recent decades with slight variations in the spelling, most notably Kehlani — like the famous R&B performing artist! 29 Momi
Short and sweet, this Hawaiian name is pronounced Mo-mee. And the meaning is “pearl.” So if you’re searching for a cute sounding
and meaning name, this one is a great option. 30 Moana Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
No doubt, you know this name from the Disney movie
Moana, which introduced a lot of people to the traditional Hawaiian name. A strong name for a girl, it means “ocean,” “wide expanse of water,” and “deep sea.” Pronounced mo-A-na, the name is also found in Maori and other Polynesian languages.
Although all baby girl names can be beautiful, there’s something extra special about Hawaiian baby girl names. Maybe it’s the connection to such a rich culture, or the deep ties to the earth itself, and that’s why Hawaiian names should make it onto your baby-naming list.
What Parents Are Talking About — Delivered Straight To Your Inbox
This article was originally published on
Aug. 27, 2021