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Babygirl and babyboy sitting on the beach in straw hats


For years, Kai was considered a name for baby boys, but over the last decade, it's been gaining in popularity as a name for baby girls in the United States. It's also a name that's popular in many cultures, though most people refer to the Hawaiian origin when naming their little ones. It's got a laid-back, bohemian vibe that's perfect for anyone looking for a baby name that symbolizes the ocean.

Meaning and Origin of the name Kai:

Kai is traditionally a boy's name of Hawaiian origin that means “sea.”

The baby name Kai has many meanings throughout the world, but most people in the United States associate it with its Hawaiian roots. In this case, it's the Hawaiian word for “sea.”

The Scandanavian meaning is “keeper of the keys” or “safe harbor.” There are many meanings for Kai in Japanese, and they are “ocean,” “shell,” “restoration,” and “recovery.” Kai is a female name in Estonian and the meaning is “pier.” In Navajo, Kai means “willow tree.” The Chinese meaning of Kai is “victory” or “beginning.”

Symbolism of the name Kai:

Because the name Kai is the Hawaiian word for “sea,” it is often associated with the ocean and water.

Nicknames for the name Kai:

Kai is a very short and sweet name that doesn't have any traditional nicknames. Since this is a short name that's difficult to shorten for a nickname, there aren't many options for nicknames. Take a look at this very short list of possible nicknames for Kai and see if either one works for your little boy or girl.

Baby name Kai

Style of the name Kai:

Modern, bohemian

Gender of the name Kai:

Kai is a name for both boys and girls.

Pronunciation of the name Kai:


Number of syllables in the name Kai:


Emotion evoked from the name Kai:

The name Kai has a coastal, beachy vibe that evokes images of sun-kissed surfers or someone who is laid back.

Alternative spellings for the name Kai:

Popularity of the name Kai:

In 2020, Kai ranked as a top 100 name for baby boys. According to the Social Security Administration, it ranked at number 93. It was less popular for girls, coming in at number 794 in 2020.

Great middle names for Kai and their meanings:

Famous people with the name Kai:

  • Kai Bird (writer)
  • Kai Fortbath (football player)
  • Kai Greene (bodybuilder)
  • Kai Ryssdal (radio host)
  • Kai Wiesinger (actor)
  • Kai Alexander (actor)
  • Kai (character in “The Snow Queen” fairy tale)
  • Kai (character in the Disney movie “Frozen”)
  • KaiMaster of Pain (character in the “Kung Fu Panda” films)
  • Kai Anderson (character from the TV show “American Horror Story: Cult”)
  • Kai Leng (character in the “Mass Effect” video game series)
  • Kai Parker (character fro the TV show “The Vampire Diaries”)
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