How popular is the baby name Chaffee in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Chaffee and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Chaffee.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Chaffee

Number of Babies Named Chaffee

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Chaffee

Rikishi, the Stink Face Baby Name

rikishiRikishi is rather unique. Not only is it a rare dual-gender one-hit wonder, but it’s it’s also the only debut name I know of that was popularized by a fake sport.

If you’re a professional wrestling fan, you already know where this one came from: Rikishi, the character played by Solofa Fatu, Jr.

Fatu’s pro-wrestling career started in 1985. He played a series of not-so-successful characters (Prince Alofa, Fatu, The Sultan) before appearing as the bleach-blond, loincloth-wearing Rikishi Fatu on the TV show WWF Metal for the first time in late 1999.

The following year, the baby name Rikishi debuted (twice!) on the SSA’s baby name list:

  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000:
    • 10 baby boys named Rikishi [debut]
    • 6 baby girls named Rikishi [debut]
  • 1999: unlisted

That’s the only year it managed to make the national list, though.

So where did the ring name Rikishi come from? Rikishi is the Japanese word for “sumo wrestler.” It can be traced back to an Old Chinese word meaning “man of strength.”

And what helped Rikishi become a WWF superstar? His signature wrestling move, the humiliating “Stink Face.”

With his opponent lying prone in the corner of the ring, Fatu sticks his sizable rear end, which is covered in skimpy tights, in their face with a smile normally reserved for children at Christmas.

“That [move] came up two years ago in Mobile, Ala., when I was wrestling the Big Bossman and he fell in the corner,” said Fatu, who has given the stinkface to almost every top WWF performer. “As I turned around, I heard some man yell out, `Put your [butt] in his face.’ Meantime, I forgot what spot came next, so I walked over and put my [butt] in his face.

“It was the biggest reaction I had gotten, so I said I was going to do it next time. It’s been easy since then. I don’t think the Bossman knew what was coming. He saw my cheeks backing up and had nowhere to go.”

Here’s a 5-minute Rikishi Stinkface Compilation. Lovely, no?

Sources: Rikishi – Wikipedia, Rikishi’s Move Is A Little Cheeky, But It Gets Him Noticed
Image: Tech. Sgt. Lisa M. Zunzanyika, USAF


What Do These Baby Names Have in Common?

Some trivia to start the week!

Before reading the rest of this post, check out the names in the image below. What do you think these names have in common?

dual-gender one-hit-wonder baby names

Ok, ready for the answer?

They are the 15 synchronized dual-gender one-hit-wonder baby names on the U.S. baby name charts.

Did anyone guess that? :)

Of the fewer than 200 baby names that are dual-gender one-hit wonders, these are the only ones that made their single appearance on the girls’ list and on the boys’ list in the same year:

  • Clinnie, given to 6 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 1920.
  • Chaffee, given to 5 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 1975.
  • Datril, given to 5 baby girls and 6 baby boys in 1975.
  • Chamel, given to 5 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 1979.
  • Chezarae, given to 6 baby girls and 9 baby boys in 1982.
  • Jakkia, given to 16 baby girls and 8 baby boys in 1990.
  • Daebreon, given to 13 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 2000.
  • Rikishi, given to 6 baby girls and 10 baby boys in 2000.
  • Xing, given to 7 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 2000.
  • Jaalyn, given to 5 baby girls and 6 baby boys in 2002.
  • Ryly, given to 6 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 2008.
  • Elyah, given to 5 baby girls and 5 baby boys in 2009.
  • Koli, given to 8 baby girls and 13 baby boys in 2010.
  • Music, given to 6 baby girls and 6 baby boys in 2012.
  • Zikora, given to 6 baby girls and 10 baby boys in 2012.

(Three more names — Chikamso, Harbour and Khymani — had dual-gender debuts in 2013, but we won’t know about their one-hit status until we see the 2014 data.)

Chaffee I’ve already written about, Ryly appeared when Riley was at its trendiest, and a couple of the other names (Rikishi, Chezarae) I’ll be writing about soon. The rest I can’t yet explain, but I’m working on it!

Vietnamese Names in America, 1975

The theme this week? Names that tie back to the end of the Vietnam War.

Yesterday’s name, Chaffee, isn’t the only Vietnam-related name we see on the charts in 1975. There are plenty of Vietnamese names that pop up that year as well. Here are the ones I’ve spotted so far:

Vietnamese Boy Name Debuts, 1975 Vietnamese Girl Name Debuts, 1975
Viet, 23 baby boys [top debut]
Hung, 16 [4th]
Nam, 14 [6th]
Huy, 13 [7th]
Long, 11
Vu, 10
Tran, 9
Duc, 8
Dung, 8
Hoang, 8
My, 8
Nguyen, 8
An, 7
Luan, 7
Phong, 7
Binh, 6
Minh, 6
Quoc, 6
Anh, 5
Hai, 5
Linh, 5
Quang, 5
Tien, 5
Yun, 5
Anh, 10 baby girls [58th highest debut]
Phuong, 9
Nguyen, 7
Thu, 7
Bich, 6
Linh, 6
Thao, 6
Trang, 6
Chau, 5
Hoa, 5
Lien, 5
Ngoc, 5
Viet, 5
Yen, 5

Many other Vietnamese names — Bao, Chinh, Dao, Giang, Huong, Khanh, Lam, Nguyet, Phuc, Quyen, Suong, Thanh, Vuong, and so forth — debut on the SSA’s list during the late ’70s and early ’80s.

One of the Vietnamese babies born at Chaffee in 1975 was Dat Nguyen, who went on to become the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL. His name, Dat, wasn’t popular enough to make the national list until 1979.

[For context, one of the pop culture names that debuted in 1975 was Chakakhan. Another was Tennille, inspired by Captain & Tennille.]

The Baby Name Chaffee

The first big wave of immigration from Vietnam to the U.S. began after the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.

Four temporary immigration centers were set up in the U.S. to process the refugees. The largest of these was Fort Chaffee in Arkansas.

By the end of 1975, nearly 51,000 immigrants had been processed at Fort Chaffee. In the meanwhile, 325 babies were born to the refugees living there.

Gerald Ford with Vietnamese children at Fort Chaffee, 1975
President Gerald Ford visited Fort Chaffee in August, 1975

And what baby name debuted (twice) on the SSA’s baby name list in 1975?

The baby name Chaffee:

  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975:
    • 5 baby boys named Chaffee [debut]
    • 5 baby girls named Chaffee [debut]
  • 1974: unlisted

So far, that’s the only year the name Chaffee has been popular enough to appear on the national list.

Were these 10 babies the children of Ft. Chaffee refugees?

I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you that all 5 of the baby boys were born in Arkansas. (Not sure about the baby girls.) Also, nearly all of the people I’ve found so far who were born in 1975 and named Chaffee had Vietnamese surnames.

(While researching, I found a Chicago-based business coach named Chaffee-Thanh Nguyen. Don’t know when he was born, but I’d venture to guess 1975.)

How did Fort Chaffee get its name?

It was named after Major General Adna Romanza Chaffee, Jr. (b. 1884) whose surname is of Norman origin. The surname can be traced back to the Old French word chauf, meaning “bald.”

And how did Adna Romanza Chaffee, Jr. get his name? He was named for his father, Lieutenant General Adna Romanza Chaffee, Sr. (b. 1842). Adna is a Biblical name said to mean “pleasure, delight” and Romanza is related to the Italian word romanzo, meaning “romance.” Newspaper writers of the early 1900s called Adna Romanza Sr.’s name “peculiar,” “incomprehensible,” “absurd,” and a “baptismal handicap,” among other things.

Sources:

  • “Chatting About Chaffee.” Boston Evening Transcript 9 Nov. 1914: 10.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Indochinese Resettlement Program – Encyclopedia of Arkansas
  • “Men and Women.” Baltimore American 25 Aug. 1900: 6.
  • Thompson, Larry Clinton. Refugee Workers in the Indochina Exodus, 1975-1982. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010.
  • “Topics of the Times.” New York Times 1 Aug. 1900.
  • Vietnamese-American – Wikipedia