Chayyim (Hebrew: חַיִּים Ḥayyīm, [ħajˈjiːm], [ˈχa.im, ħaˈjim]), also transcribed Haim, Hayim, Chayim, or Chaim (English pronunciations: HYM, KHYM, KHAH-yeem), is a name of Hebrew origin which means "life". Its first usage can be traced to the Middle Ages. It is a popular name among Jewish people. The feminine form for this name is Chaya (Hebrew: חַיָּה Ḥayyah, [ħajˈjaː], [ˈχaja, ħaˈja]; English pronunciations: HAH-yah, KHAH-yah ).
Chai is the Hebrew word for "alive". According to Kaballah, the name Hayim helps the person to remain healthy, and people were known to add Hayim as their second name to improve their health. (Among Serbians, the name "Vuk", meaning "wolf", as well as Idir ("he will live") among Kabyles, was for similar reasons given to weak and ill infants.)
In the United States, Chaim is a common spelling; however, since the phonemic pattern is unusual for English words, Hayim is often used as an alternative spelling. The "ch" spelling comes from transliteration of the Hebrew letter "chet", which also starts words like Chanukah, Channa, etc., which can also be spelled as Hanukah and Hannah. It is cognate to the Arabic word حياة (ḥayāh ), with the same meaning, deriving from the same Proto-Semitic root.
L'Chaim in Hebrew is a toast meaning "to life". When a couple becomes engaged, they get together with friends and family to celebrate. Since they drink l'chaim ("to life"), the celebration is also called a l'chaim.
Hebrew letters are also used as numerals, and the Hebrew letters that spell "chai" also stand for the number 18. Thus, 18 is considered a lucky number in Jewish culture. It is common to give gifts and contributions to charity in multiples of 18.
Among Argentine Jews, the Spanish name Jaime (Spanish: [ˈxajme], a Spanish cognate of James) is often chosen for its phonetic similarity to Haim.
Hayim is a non-governmental organization that works on a voluntary basis to provide relief and support for pediatric oncology patients in Israel.