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If you’re interested in Hawaiian names and their meanings, you may be wondering: what does Leilani mean in Hawaiian? In short, Leilani is a beautiful Hawaiian name meaning “heavenly flower” or “royal child of heaven.” But there’s much more to this melodic name than just a quick definition.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the components of the name Leilani, its history and origins, symbolism, and popularity over time. We’ll also look at some famous bearers of the name and examples of its use in popular culture. Whether you’re considering Leilani for your baby’s name or just want to learn more about its background, read on to uncover the rich meaning behind this Hawaiian gem.

Breaking Down the Parts of the Name Leilani

Have you ever wondered what the beautiful Hawaiian name Leilani means? In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the different components that make up this enchanting name. Let’s break it down and explore the meanings behind each part.

Lei – Garland or Wreath

The first part of the name Leilani is “Lei,” which holds a special significance in Hawaiian culture. A lei is a garland or wreath made from flowers, leaves, shells, or other materials, and it is commonly given as a symbol of affection, celebration, or respect. The act of placing a lei around someone’s neck is a gesture of welcoming and honoring. It represents the beauty and interconnectedness of nature, as well as the love and aloha spirit that Hawaiians hold dear.

The name Leilani, with its “Lei” component, carries the essence of a vibrant and joyful garland. It evokes imagery of colorful flowers woven together to form a beautiful adornment. This part of the name suggests a sense of grace, purity, and natural beauty.

Lani – Heaven, Sky, Royal, Majestic

The second part of the name Leilani is “Lani,” which has several meanings in Hawaiian. It can refer to heaven, the sky, or anything that is celestial. It is also associated with royalty and majesty. In Hawaiian mythology, Lani is often used to describe the realm of the gods and goddesses, a place of divine beauty and tranquility.

When combined with “Lei,” the “Lani” component in the name Leilani adds an ethereal quality. It suggests a connection to the heavens, a sense of grandeur, and a royal presence. The name Leilani can be interpreted as “heavenly garland” or “royal wreath,” symbolizing a person of extraordinary beauty, grace, and importance.

Leilani’s Origins and History

The name Leilani has a rich and fascinating history deeply rooted in the Hawaiian culture. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Hawaii, where names held great significance and were often chosen based on their meanings and associations. In the Hawaiian language, “Leilani” is a compound of two words – “lei,” which means “garland” or “flower,” and “lani,” which means “heaven” or “sky.” Therefore, the name Leilani can be interpreted as “heavenly flower” or “royal child of the heavens.”

Use in Ancient Hawaiian Culture

In ancient Hawaiian culture, names were seen as more than just labels – they were believed to carry spiritual and ancestral connections. The name Leilani was often given to girls who were born during significant celestial events or to signify their connection to the divine. It was also used to honor and pay tribute to the natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands, which are known for their lush greenery and vibrant flowers. The name Leilani was considered a mark of prestige and was reserved for individuals of high status within the community.

Popularization in 20th Century America

The popularity of the name Leilani extended beyond the shores of Hawaii in the 20th century, as it started to gain recognition and usage in America. This can be attributed to the increasing fascination with Hawaiian culture and the desire for unique and exotic names. The name Leilani began to appear in American literature, music, and films, further contributing to its rise in popularity. Today, it is not uncommon to find individuals with the name Leilani in various parts of the world, showcasing the global appeal and recognition of this beautiful Hawaiian name.

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Symbolic Meanings of the Name Leilani

The Hawaiian name Leilani carries deep symbolic meanings, reflecting the rich culture and natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands. The name is a combination of two words, “lei” meaning “garland” or “flower” and “lani” meaning “heaven” or “royalty.” Together, these elements create a name that is both beautiful and powerful, evoking images of blooming flowers and divine elegance.

Flower Imagery

One of the most prominent symbolic meanings associated with the name Leilani is its connection to flowers. In Hawaiian culture, flowers hold great significance and are often used to convey love, beauty, and joy. The “lei” in Leilani represents a garland of flowers, which is a traditional Hawaiian symbol of affection and welcome. Just as a lei is carefully crafted with vibrant blossoms, the name Leilani embodies the essence of beauty and grace.

Furthermore, the flower imagery associated with the name Leilani extends beyond its literal meaning. It also represents growth, renewal, and the cycle of life. Like a flower that blooms and withers, the name Leilani encapsulates the idea of embracing change and finding beauty in every stage of life.

Heavenly and Royal Connotations

The second part of the name Leilani, “lani,” carries connotations of heaven and royalty. In Hawaiian cosmology, the heavens are often referred to as “lani,” and they are believed to be the dwelling place of the gods and the departed souls. By incorporating “lani” into the name Leilani, it suggests a connection to the divine and a sense of celestial beauty.

Additionally, the use of “lani” in the name Leilani also implies a royal lineage or status. In Hawaiian culture, names with the “lani” suffix were traditionally reserved for royalty and nobility. Therefore, the name Leilani not only signifies heavenly beauty but also carries a sense of regality, bestowing a sense of honor and prestige upon those who bear it.

Popularity of the Name Over Time

The name Leilani has gained popularity over the years, with its roots in Hawaiian culture. Let’s take a closer look at how the name has fared in America and its significance in Hawaii.

Trends in America

In America, the name Leilani has seen a steady rise in popularity over the past few decades. According to the Social Security Administration, the name entered the top 1000 baby names in the United States in the 1960s and has been climbing steadily ever since. In recent years, Leilani has ranked among the top 300 names for baby girls.

The increasing popularity of the name can be attributed to its melodic sound, exotic feel, and the growing interest in Hawaiian culture. People are drawn to the name’s unique meaning and the sense of beauty and tranquility it evokes.

Furthermore, Leilani has been popularized by notable figures in the entertainment industry, such as Leilani Bishop, an American model, and Leilani Sarelle, an actress known for her role in the film Basic Instinct.

Use in Hawaii

In its native land of Hawaii, the name Leilani holds a special significance. In the Hawaiian language, “Leilani” translates to “heavenly flower” or “royal child.” The name is often given to girls to honor their beauty, grace, and connection to the natural world.

Leilani has been a beloved name in Hawaiian culture for generations, reflecting the deep appreciation for nature and the rich cultural heritage of the islands. It is not uncommon to come across locals with the name Leilani, and it serves as a reminder of the island’s enchanting beauty and the close relationship Hawaiians have with their surroundings.

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Famous Bearers of the Name

Leilani Jones (Wrestler)

Leilani Jones, also known as “The Hawaiian Hurricane,” is a professional wrestler who has made a name for herself in the world of wrestling. With her powerful moves and charismatic personality, Leilani Jones has become a fan favorite. She has competed in numerous wrestling promotions and has won several championships throughout her career. Her dedication and passion for the sport have made her one of the most respected wrestlers in the industry.

Leilani Munter (Race Car Driver)

Leilani Munter is not your average race car driver. Known as the “Carbon-Free Girl,” she is an environmental activist who uses her platform in motorsports to raise awareness about climate change and promote sustainable living. Leilani Munter has competed in various racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. She has also been involved in renewable energy projects and has even driven a car powered by solar energy. Leilani Munter’s commitment to making a positive impact on the planet sets her apart from other race car drivers.

These two remarkable women, Leilani Jones and Leilani Munter, have not only achieved success in their respective fields but have also used their platforms to inspire and make a difference. They serve as role models for aspiring wrestlers and race car drivers, showing that it is possible to pursue your passions while also making a positive impact on the world around you.

Leilani in Popular Culture

Television and Movies

Leilani, a beautiful and evocative Hawaiian name, has made its mark in popular culture through various television shows and movies. One notable example is the hit TV series “Hawaii Five-0,” where Leilani is used as a character name. This character embodies the spirit of the islands and adds a touch of authenticity to the show. Additionally, Leilani’s meaning, which translates to “heavenly flower” or “royal child,” adds depth to the character’s personality and backstory.

Another example of Leilani’s presence in popular culture is in the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” In this comedy film, Leilani is the name of a character who brings a sense of intrigue and allure to the storyline. The choice of the name Leilani for this character reflects the tropical and exotic setting of the film, highlighting the beauty and uniqueness associated with the name.


The name Leilani has also been immortalized in various songs, further solidifying its place in popular culture. One well-known example is the song “Sweet Leilani” written by Harry Owens. This song, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1937, became a major hit and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. The lyrics of “Sweet Leilani” paint a vivid picture of a paradise-like island and emphasize the allure and beauty of the name Leilani.

In addition to “Sweet Leilani,” there are several other songs that feature the name Leilani in their titles or lyrics. These songs span different genres and time periods, showcasing the enduring popularity and appeal of this Hawaiian name. From reggae to pop, Leilani has found its way into the hearts and minds of musicians and listeners alike.

With its appearances in television, movies, and songs, Leilani has become a name that resonates with people around the world. Its unique sound and beautiful meaning make it a popular choice for parents seeking a name that embodies the spirit of Hawaii and brings a touch of tropical paradise to their child’s life.


The Hawaiian name Leilani beautifully captures a sense of heavenliness, regality, and delicate natural beauty. With its origins in ancient Hawaiian culture and its surge in popularity in 20th century America, Leilani has secured its place as a favorite Hawaiian name selection for girls. Whether you’re drawn to its floral imagery, royal associations, or melodic sound, Leilani is a graceful choice ripe with symbolic meaning and island history.

We hope this comprehensive outline gives you a deep dive into the origins, background, and popularity of the gorgeous Hawaiian name Leilani. From breakdowns of its component parts to its use in pop culture, we’ve covered all the key details behind Leilani’s enchanting meaning. Now you can decide if its graceful sound and heavenly connotations are the perfect fit for your little one.

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