Hawaiian culture is rich and beautiful, and the native population of the island chain that is so often associated with paradise has been populated by its indigenous peoples for almost 2,000 years.
Unfortunately, as of 2008 there are only about 24,000 native speakers of the Hawaiian language, and this Polynesian language is classified as Definitely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.
Many Hawaiian parents may want to play a part in maintaining and rejuvenating the Hawaiian language and culture. An excellent way to do that is to give your child a beautiful Hawaiian name. Here are some amazing choices for any parent looking for authentic Hawaiian boy names.
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Popular Hawaiian Boy Names
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Every culture has its classic and popular names, and there’s nothing wrong with having a common name. Here are some of the most popular Hawaiian boy names for your baby boy.
Ahe is a beautiful monosyllabic Hawaiian boy name that literally means “soft.” This name is a great choice for anyone who wants their baby boy to have a name that teaches them to embrace a more delicate approach to life.
The second choice on our list of Hawaiian names translates to “high chief.” If you want to raise a proud warrior who knows how to look after others, then this is the Hawaiian name for you.
This name might be my favorite of all of our Hawaiian baby boy names, simply because of its translation. Kahiau does not have a one-word translation to English (or any other language I can think of) but “refers to the act of doing something generously without expecting anything in return.” Embed your son with the value of kindness from day one.
“Kai” is actually the Hawaiian word for “sea,” and we promise you’ll see more male Hawaiian names that start with these letters. In this case, the full name Kaimana means “powerful sea.” As an island people, Hawaiian culture has a very understandable reverence for the sea and the ocean, and Kaimana is an excellent way to embrace that connection to nature.
Another “kai” name, this Hawaiian name combines “sea” with “nalu” which means “wave” or “surf.” Raise a talented surfer with this Hawaiian boy’s name.
Another beautiful Hawaiian name that pays homage to nature, but this time a body a little farther away. Konane means “bright moonlight” and is a great choice for anyone who loves the sight of a full moon.
Just like Kahiau, Mahani is a Hawaiian name that doesn’t have a one-word translation in English. This name means “to pass easily and silently” and is the perfect deeply-meaningful baby name for a parent that wants to ensure their boy has a life free of troubles.
Many popular Hawaiian boy names embrace a gentleness that is, unfortunately, often disregarded among boys in certain western cultures. Makao might be the exception; this Hawaiian name can be understood as “aggressive,” but also means “fearless” or “courageous.” This is a great name for any future leader or athlete.
This popular Hawaiian name is actually the Hawaiian version “Michael,” and it has the same meaning as the name of Hebrew origin, which is “who is like God?” This is a reverent name that is excellent for any religious parent.
For many parents; the biggest sign of success is seeing their child grow up to be a good parent in their own right. If you fit that bill, then Nainoa is the perfect Hawaiian boy name for you, as is means “the one who guards the kids or small children.” Name your son Nainoa to give them the personality traits of a kinds and protective parent.
Traditional Hawaiian Boy Names
Depending on your reason for specifically looking for at Hawaiian baby boy names, it may be more important to you to embrace tradition and wear your culture on your sleeve. Hawaiian names pay a lot of homage to nature, and the Hawaiian language is full of beautiful baby boy names that will evoke calming emotions and make your baby boy feel like he’s relaxing on a tropical island whenever his name is uttered. Here are some of our favorite traditional Hawaiian boy names.
Traditional Hawaiian names have more vowels and glottal stops than English speakers are used to, and no name exemplifies that more than the eloquent A’ia’i. This consonant-less name is similar in meaning to Konane, as it translates to “bright like the moon.” Give your child a name that will make them light up the darkness.
Ainakea is a traditional Hawaiian name that means “white land,” and is the perfect choice for any parent that wants a name connected to the beautiful white beaches of Hawaii.
Ali’kai, like many traditional Hawaiian baby names, is actually a unisex name, and it’s used by baby boys and girls alike. When given to a boy, this powerful name means “king of the sea.”
If you want your little Hawaiian boy to be as energetic and lively as all baby boys should be, then should bestow upon him the name Eleu, which translates to “alert and lively.” Teach your son that he can have fun while still being aware of his surroundings.
A truly beautiful name that, like many traditional Hawaiian names, calls to the skies and the heavens, Healani means “haze from the heavens.” Have a baby watched over by God with the name boy’s name Healani.
In Hawaiian, Kamea means “the one and only.” This is a powerful name that is up to interpretation. It can be a call to accountability and initiative, a way to make your baby boy feel like the center of the universe, or a reminder of the all-powerfulness of God. The choice is yours; you can’t go wrong with this Hawaiian name.
Despite their relatively small population, the Hawaiin people have laid claim to some pretty prominent celebrities, including Jason Mamoa and Keanu Reeves. Name your son Kualanne and add to that list by giving your baby boy a Hawaiian name that literally means “famous”
If there’s one Hawaiian word that almost everybody knows, it’s “aloha.” Of course, while it’s used as a greeting, most people don’t know that “aloha” actually means “love.” Kealoha builds off that by creating a beautiful name that means “the loved one.”
There’s something dignified about holding onto long-standing traditions. And with the name Kei, your newborn baby can embrace both tradition and dignity with a traditional Hawaiian name that literally means “dignified.”
As we’ve said, traditional Hawaiian names have a rich relationship with nature. Makani, which means “the wind” is a beautiful continuation of that tradition, and its an amazing addition to our collection of Hawaiian boy names.
Unique Hawaiian Boy Names
Sometimes you just need to break the mold. There’s just no room left for more “Johns” and “Bobs.” Even within the context of Hawaiian boy names, you may want to think outside the box and not just name your baby boy after your parent, grandparent, or other family member. If you want your baby boy to have a Hawaiian name that will help them stand out, here are our favorite unique Hawaiian boy names.
This lovely name is will signal in more ways than one that your boy is one of a kind. Its uniqueness will make him stand out, and its definition of “sweetheart” will help make sure he never forgets how you feel.
Every parent thinks their son is a prince or an angel, and you can make it so with this unique Hawaiian name! Give your son the name Kamalani and they’ll forever be a “heavenly or royal child.”
Kapono is a less-common Hawaiian name that means “the good one.” This is a great name for religious Hawaiian parents who want something a little different for their baby boy’s name.
You may recognize Kau’i as one of the Hawaiian islands, but it also means “the youthful one.” Help your son hold onto their youthful nature with this unique name.
Many diaspora communities have taken to embracing their roots with names that harken to home. If you’re a native Hawaiian living far form home, Keone, which ins Hawaiian means “the homeland,” is a great name to help your child remember where they come from.
Mahana is a beautiful name that can be either a blessing or a lesson. It literally translates to “be warm” and it can either be a blessing that your child will always be glowing with warmth and love, or it can serve as a reminder to be kind to those around us.
Lehua is a patriotic Hawaiian name that shares the name of the state flower, the lehua flower, which blossoms on the famous Ohia tree. This is a beautiful name that will always remind your son of the breathtaking nature of Hawaii.
Give your child this loving name to make them stand out in your heart and in the crowd. Leilani means “heavenly child” and is one of many Hawaiian male names that calls to the heavens.
Yet another Hawaiian baby boy name that alludes to the heavens. Nalani means either “the heavens” or “the chiefs” and evokes a certain beauty while also claiming the power of a legendary warrior. This is the perfect unique name if you want your son to have full control over their full duality.
As stated before, Hawaiian male names don’t subscribe to the same gender dynamics as western names, and U’ilani is a great, unique name that subverts gender norms. This name means “royal beauty” and is a perfect reminder that it’s okay to get in touch with your feminine side.
Hawaiian Boy Names that Are Easy to Pronounce
If you don’t live in an area with a lot of native Hawaiin speakers, it may be frustarting to constantly hear people mess up the pronounciation of your name. As a Jew, I certainly have a lot of friends who get fed up with English speakers messing up the phlegm sound at the beginning of names like “Chaim.” The Hawaiian language has a lot of vowel combinations that speakers of non-Polynesian languages might have trouble with. If you want to keep it simple and avoid any confusion, here are some Hawaiin boy names that are true to your culture but won’t constantly be butchered.
This two-syllable Hawaiian name for boys will be nice and easy for everyone to pronounce, and it has a nice meaning to back it up. Hani means “to touch lightly,” and is a good reminder that some things need a more delicate touch.
As we said before, Kai means “sea” in Hawaiian, and is the basis for many traditional Hawaiian baby names. And as a nice benefit, it’s one syllable with sounds that exist in almost every language. Nobody is going to mispronounce “Kai.”
If you’d never seen it before, it’s possible this name would maybe be harder to pronounce, but Keanu Reeves changed all of that even though many probably don’t even realize that his name is of Hawaiian origin. Thanks to blockbuster classics like The Matrix and John Wick, nobody is going to misread or mispronounce your child’s name if that name is Keanu.
This name is short, sweet, and easy to pronounce. Lei means “flowers” or “child,” both of which hold a special significance in Hawaiian culture. Since most non-Hawaiians know about the ring of flowers known as a lei, it’s incredibly unlikely anyone is messing up this name.
Another flower-related name, Liko means “bud,” and is a great indicator of what’s to come.
Many Hawaiian boy names allude to Hawaiian mythology. Lono is no exception, but it’s probably the easiest of such names to pronounce. This four-letter name means “God of the harvest.”
Just like Lono, Mana is a religious name that alludes to the heavenly. It means “divine power,” and it’s a name that’s sure to help your child strive for greatness.
Origin: Old Norse
Sometimes it’s good to channel your ferocious energy. This short and sweet name has a not-so-sweet meaning, as a mano is a shark in Hawaiian. Teach your son that sometimes it’s okay to be a little aggressive.
This name is as sweet as it is short. Ona is one of many Hawaiian boy names that embraces a soft and gentle nature, and it literally means “sweetness.” This name is sure to fill your son with a delightful energy that makes everyone smile.
The last name on our list of Hawaiian baby boy names means “behind or at the back.” Tua will serve as a great reminder to your son to be a pillar of support for his loved ones with this easy-to-pronounce name.
Need more names?
Find the perfect baby name for your little one by selecting from our diverse lists below:
Some parting words
That rounds out our list of Hawaiian boy names. There are plenty of other Hawaiian baby names out there, so don’t feel discouraged if you couldn’t find anything. You can also always take an existing non-Hawaiian name and put your own Hawaiian spin on it as was done with 9 Mikala, the Hawaiian version of Michael. Good luck naming your baby boy!