Aloha! If you’re looking for a girl’s name inspired by an island paradise, look no further than Hawaii. Not only are the Hawaiian islands synonymous with sugary sand beaches in every color, dreamy prismatic sunsets, luscious golden pineapples, fragrant flowers, and countless natural wonders, but they also bring us some of the most beautiful names in the world.
How to say it: Lay-LAH-nee
This lilting name is actually a blend of two Hawaiian words: lei, which means flowers, and lani, which means heavenly. The first part of the name, lei, also refers to the traditional floral garland Hawaiians present visitors on arrival to wear around their necks. It's a symbol of affection and friendship.
Fun fact: Leis are traditionally made by weaving together fragrant flowers from the maile (mye-lah) vine, which is native to Hawaii. When it comes to lei etiquette, there are several simple rules. If someone gives you a lei, don't refuse it. It's also considered impolite to remove your lei in the presence of the person who gave it to you.
If you like the name Leilani, you might also like: Jacinta, Camellia, Dahlia, Anahi, Lorelei, Danika, Azalea, Fleur, Laurel, Begonia
How to say it: ee-oh-LAHN-ah
Whether this gorgeous name means “bird of heaven” or “to soar” is up for debate. One thing’s for sure, however: Iolana is unmistakably Hawaiian in both its sound and usage. Variants of the name include Iolane and Iolani.
Fun fact: Iolana iolas is a genus of butterfly with beautiful blue-violet and gray wings. Although these insects have a Hawaiian name, they are not native to Hawaii.
If you like the name Iolana, you might also like: Lola, Noellia, Kaia, Talila, Iona, Juliana, Lila, Melisande, Alana, Aurelia
How to say it: ka-LAY-ah This lovely name has an equally lovely meaning: it translates to "joy and happiness" in Hawaiian. In Hawaii, it is often written Kale’a. Fun fact: Namesakes include Kalea Mims, an American Victoria’s Secret model. If you like the name Kalea, you might also like: Calla, Danika, Cassia, Saskia, Calliope, Acacia, Cressida, Thea, Aviva, Cerise
How to say it: mah-HEE-nah
This enchanting name means “moon” in the Hawaiian language. It’s also the name of the lunar deity who presides over all other goddesses.
Fun fact: There are 30 phases in the Hawaiian lunar calendar. Children are taught how to identify them from a very early age.
If you like Mahina, you might also like: Luna, Ophelia, Phoebe, Miranda, Cordelia, Bianca, Cleo, Clementine, Opal, Aurora
How to say it: pah-LYE-lah
This unique name lends a tropical twist to trendy long-I names like Lila and Iris. It’s Hawaiian for “bird”.
Fun fact: The state bird of Hawaii is the nene, which was recently removed from the endangered species list. Other native birds include the akiapolaau, the white tern, and the pueo owl.
If you like Palila, you might also like: Isla, Shiloh, Lita, Delilah, Ivy, Mariah, Skylar, Carina, Ariadne, Mira
How to say it: ah-LOH-hee
One letter removed from the famous Hawaiian salutation, “aloha,” this girls’ name is as approachable as it is adorable. It means "brilliant and shining."
Fun fact: Aloha means a whole more than just hello and goodbye. It has a deep spiritual significance in native Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures, representing peace, harmony, sympathy, and togetherness.
If you like Alohi, you might also like: Loki, Nova, Ola, Emilia, Chloe, Amalia, Naomi, Zuri, Amari, Nayeli
How to say it: mah-LAY
This melodious unisex name literally means "song." It’s also the Hawaiian form of Mary.
Fun fact: Traditional Hawaiian folk music includes mele (chanting) and hula (music for ritualized dance). Hawaiians express praise, tell stories, and honor ancestors through music and dancing.
If you like Mele, you might also like: Mila, Aria, Lily, Maya, Eden, Remi, Ayla, Nyla, Zuri, Nina
How to say it: moh-AH-nuh Disney fans are already familiar with this sweet sea-inspired name, which is a Hawaiian, Maori and Tahitian word to describe a vast expanse of ocean. Fun fact: Moana is also the name of a Polynesian sea god. If you like Moana, you might also like: Merida, Theodora, Cecelia, Alethia, Georgia, Gwenevere, Alexia, Catarina, Ceridwen, Meredith
How to say it: how-woh-KEE-yeh
When it comes to Hawaiian names, this one is straight out of a fairytale. It combines the word hau, which means snow, and kea, which means white.
Fun fact: Most people don't know that Hawaii has snow. The summits of Hawaii's tallest volcanoes, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala, all have seasonal snow caps.
If you like Haukea, you might also like: Cressida, Elodie, Indira, Una, Adelia, Annika, Esme, Carissa, Rebekah, Giada
How to say it: KYE
This unisex Hawaiian name is flying up the popularity charts all over the globe lately, and it’s easy to see why. It means "ocean," and who wouldn’t want their name to remind them of a Hawaiian beach every day? Variants include Kaipo, which means sweetheart, and Kailani, which means ocean and sky.
Fun fact: Kai is a truly international name and is currently popular the world over. It means ocean in Japanese, too, but it means victory in Chinese, lovable in Swahili, and keeper of the keys in old Scots.
If you like Kai, you might also like: Kiera, Lyric, Nixie, Sienna, Frankie, Marisol, Harmony, Bliss, Echo, Chance
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