To be honest, Margit and me did not research the meaning of the name Malia too intensively before today. But seeing as so many people have asked what it means and how to pronounce it, I've done some googling and these are my findings:
According to several websites (for example this one, this one and this one), Malia is Hawaiian. A few other websites (like this one) say it is American Indian, but I am taking that to mean native American, ie. for Hawaii the original inhabitants, the Polynesians. This could then mean this name might actually be Polynesian (I'll let our Polynesian specialist answer that one!).
Regarding the meaning. For those that clicked on the above links, you'll already have seen some different ones. "Bitter" is one that is mentioned on a few sites, so that might be the direct translation of Malia in Hawaiian. Not my favourite Quite a few sites agree that Malia is a variant of Mary; another name of which the meaning is unclear (see here), so it's not so strange that they can't agree on Malia. So, what are the possible meanings???
- "perhaps/probably" (source)
- "calm and peaceful (waters)" (source and source with 'waters')
- "bitter/bitterness" (several places as above and here)
- "rebeliousness" (as variant of Mary - see source)
- "wished for child" (as variant of Mary - see source)
As you can see, plenty of choice I think we'll go with the last one (hey, with that much uncertainty, one should be allowed to choose!), which is kind of neat seeing as Samuel has a similar meaning (see here). Plus, that website seems to give the most reason for actually claiming the meaning and seems to be the most professional. And yes, we prefer it over 'bitter' or 'rebeliousness'
Regarding pronounciation. We'll be pronouncing it so: ma-LEE-ah . This is actually one of the reasons we liked this name so much, it pronounces exactly the same in Norwegian, Dutch and English (this is extremely hard to find!). So no hassles there and she's already equipped with a name she can travel the world with easily and without too many translation/spelling problems.
How we came about the name? While on holiday (and discussing baby names) I was listening to a random song on the ipod and the artist's name on the display caught my attention. From the album "Saint Germain des Pres Cafe - Volume 5", the song was "Yellow Daffodils" by "Malia feat. Erik Truffaz" - the song is pretty nice too (there's a snippet available to listen to under the artists website, click Music and scroll down to song one of the second album). A total coincidence in other words, but in our opinion a beautiful name. It stayed our number one pick with no other name coming near it for a girl - whereas we had gone back and forth up until then with about 5 names
And for those of you that just can't get enough (read: myself), here's another picture of sweet Malia asleep...