Kai (name)

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Pronunciation /ˈk/
Gender Unisex
Word/name various
Meaning various
Other names
Related names Cai, Kaj

The name Kai /ˈk/ has various origins and meanings in different cultures:

  • In Basque, kai is a common word meaning "pier of a harbour" and a variant of the first name Kaio (from the old Latin name Caius, meaning "happy").
  • In Burmese, kai means "strong" or "unbreakable".
  • In Chamoru, Kai is a nativized version of the Spanish name Francisca, which is the feminine form of Francis, meaning "from France" or "free one".
  • In Mandarin Chinese, Kai is a common given name with one of several meanings, most often "victory" (凱), another being "open" (開). The word cài 菜 in Mandarin also means vegetable. Kai can also be used to transliterate the Chinese character used in some names meaning "start" (啟) in the Cantonese pronunciation.
  • In Estonian, Kai is a female name meaning "pier".
  • In Finnish, Kai is a common male name, Finnish form of Kaj. The term "kai" also means "probably" in Finnish.
  • In Frisian, Kai is a short form of Frisian "Kaimbe", meaning "warrior."
  • In Hausa, kai means "you".
  • In Hawaiian, kai means "ocean" or "ocean water".
  • In Hmong, Kai is a male name that is sometimes spelled Kha.
  • In Kono and Kissi, Kai is a male name; it is also a Paramount Chief title or prefix that means king of kings. It can be found as a name, or part of the names of several towns and regions in the Mano River Union Countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire.
  • In Japanese, Kai has a number of meanings, including "ocean" (海), "shell" (貝), "restoration" and "recovery".[1][2] As a surname, it means "Worth" (甲斐).
  • In Laotian, kai has numerous meanings, including "chicken", "to open" , "sick" , "egg" , or "to sell".
  • In Malayalam, kai means "hand".[3]
  • In Māori, kai means "food".
  • In Navajo, kai means "willow tree".
  • In North Germanic languages, kai means "lord", "keeper of the keys" or "earth".[citation needed] In Germanic languages, kai means "quay" or "safe harbor".
  • In Quechua, Kai means "to be".
  • In Scottish, Kai means "fire".
  • In Swahili, Kai is a female name meaning "lovable".
  • In Swedish, Kai is a male name meaning "Rejoice".
  • In Tamil, kai means "hand". With a longer 'a' sound, it would mean vegetable (காய்கறி) [4] which is interestingly similar to the Mandarin meaning of the same sound 'cài'.
  • In Thai, kai means "chicken" and used as a nickname.
  • In Wayuu, kai means "sun". It also means "the one who brings the light in the dawn" and/or "the one who brings knowledge".[5]
  • In Welsh, Kai is a popular given name normally spelt "Cai". It is the diminutive of Cajus, meaning "Rejoicer", and is frequently used as an independent name in Wales due to its use in the Arthurian legend of Sir Kay. Another variation is Cae, meaning "pitch" or "field".
  • In Wolof, kai means "come".
  • In Zambia, particularly in the Ngoni tribe of south central Africa, Kai is derived from the name Kaizala.

In Northern Ireland, data indicated that Kai experienced a significant rise in popularity as a male given name from 2002 to 2003. It has become popular in the UK, with many children born in the mid to late 1990s given the name. While it is typically a male given name, in recent years it has become popular for girls as well.[6]

Given name[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "English<>Japanese". Dictionary. Retrieved 2012-01-13. 
  2. ^ "Official list of Kanji permissible for name use". 
  3. ^ https://translate.google.co.uk/?hl=en&tab=wT#en/ml/hand
  4. ^ "English to Tamil dictionary translation online | Tamilcube". dictionary.tamilcube.com. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  5. ^ http://www.profesorenlinea.cl/castellano/Mito_wayuu_creacion.html
  6. ^ "Jack and Emma were the most popular first names in Northern Ireland in 2003" (PDF) (Press release). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 2004-01-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2008-02-14. Kai has risen from rank 156 in 2002 to rank 94 in 2003....