What does the word Hawaii mean?

The word "Hawaii" is most properly spelled "Hawai'i," where the apostrophe (called an 'okina in the Hawaiian language) between the final two i's stands for the glottal stop, which is a consonant in Hawaiian.

Hawaiian as a language is descended from Common Polynesian, spoken about 2000-1500 years ago. The term "Hawai'i" comes from a Common Polynesian root "Havaiki," meaning simply "homeland." It was also sometimes used to refer to the land of the dead or the afterlife in Polynesian religion and mythology.

Cognates of this same word are found in the other Polynesian languages today (Maori, Marquesan "Havaiki," Cook Islands 'Avaiki, Samoan Savai'i, etc.), all