What does Kai mean?
Kai \kai\ as a boys' name (also used less commonly as girls' name Kai) is pronounced kye. It is of Welsh, Scandinavian and Greek origin, and the meaning of Kai is "keeper of the keys; earth". Variant of Kay. Also possibly (South African) "beautiful". Kai is also a Hawaiian name meaning "the sea".
For more on this name, see also the related boy name Cai.
Kai is a rare first name for males but a very popular last name for both adults and children (#24701 out of 150436, Top 16%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the baby name popularity of Kai for boys. Kai was first listed in 1980-1989 and reached its peak rank of #177 in the U.S. in 2014. (Top 1000 Birth Names Statistics, 2014)
Kay is the only other popular alternative form of Kai (#177 the previous year). These boy names are at the apex of their popularity today (usage of 0.4115%), except for the form Kay which has become less fashionable. Kai (#177) is the most fashionable birth name in this list. Below is a graphed comparison of the usage of Kai and affiliated names. (Top 1000 Birth Names Statistics, 2014)
Kai is alike in pronunciation to Caio, Caw, Kauai, Kawai, Kaye, Key and Koa. Other recommended similar baby names are Dai, Hai, Jai, KC, Kail, Kain, Kam, Kari, Kasi, Kaz and Rai. These names tend to be more commonly used than Kai.