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What Does the Name Kai Mean?

By Emma Davies


Updated on

Kai is a name meaning ‘earth’ and ‘keeper of the keys’ in Welsh and Scandinavian origins, but it has roots in many cultures around the world. The simple name is most often considered to be of Hawaiian derivation meaning ‘sea’.

What Does the Name Kai Mean

In Europe, Kai is thought to have Frisian origin as a short version of the name Kaimbe which means ‘warrior’. The name can also be found in Chinese culture meaning ‘victory’ and in the Navajo meaning ‘willow tree’.

  • Name Origin: Welsh
  • Name Meaning: earth, sea, or warrior
  • Pronunciation: k-ai-h
  • Gender: gender-neutral

How Popular is the name Kai?

Kai has been quite a popular name in Wales and has remained in the top 1000 names for boys since around the 1970s. The name made it to the top 100 baby names in 2019 and even placed number 794 for girls’ names in the year 2020.

It is very often used as a gender-neutral name in the United States today. Based on 2021 statistics, it is estimated that one out of every 405 baby boys are named Kai, and one out of every 4836 baby girls are named share the name as well.

Name Variations

Name Meaning Origin
Caius Rejoice Latin
Cai Rejoice or happy Latin and Welsh
Kaleb Devotion to God Hebrew
Chi Tree branch or twig Vietnamese
Kian Ancient or king Gaelic
Kyler Bowman or archer Dutch
Kylo Sky or Heavenly American and Latin

Other Welsh Boy Names

Name Meaning
Aron Celtic Saint
Arwyn Handsome
Dylan The son of the sea and waves
Gruffydd Lord or Prince
Harri Welsh equivalent of Harry
Cedric Generous
Elis God’s promise

Alternative Boy Names Starting With “K”

Name Meaning Origin
Kennedy Helmet Irish and Scottish
Kaleb Devotion to God Hebrew
Kenneth Handsome English
Kevin Handsome Irish
Kinsley King’s meadow Old English
Karson Son of marsh dwellers Scottish
Kaden Companion, round, or fighter Arabic and Welsh

Famous People Named Kai

  • Kai Alexander – British Actor
  • Kai Wen Tan – American Gymnast
  • Kai Bird – American Journalist
  • Kai Althoff – German multimedia Artist
  • Kai Budde – German gamer