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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tennille

Posts that Mention the Name Tennille

The Tennille Trend

music, 1970s, baby name, tennille
Captain and Tennille

The baby name Tennille debuted impressively in the U.S. baby name data in 1975. In fact, it was one of the top debut names of the entire decade. It also inspired dozens of variant spellings (even more than Deneen had!):


*Debut; **One-hit wonder

Tennille’s trendiness only lasted a few years, but the name was popular enough to reach the top 1,000 for three years straight in the late 1970s:

  • 1981: 87 baby girls named Tennille
  • 1980: 140 baby girls named Tennille
  • 1979: 113 baby girls named Tennille
  • 1978: 141 baby girls named Tennille [rank: 984th]
  • 1977: 425 baby girls named Tennille [rank: 462nd]
  • 1976: 769 baby girls named Tennille [rank: 300th]
  • 1975: 103 baby girls named Tennille (debut)
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: unlisted

So, where did the name come from?

The musical duo Captain & Tennille, made up of married couple “Captain” Daryl Dragon and Cathryn Antoinette “Toni” Tennille. Their first hit song was the very ’70s-sounding “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which was released in April of 1975 and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June.

The band got even bigger in 1976: “Love Will Keep Us Together” won the Grammy for Record of the Year, “Muskrat Love” became their second hit, and they began hosting the weekly Captain and Tennille variety show on television. (It lasted 20 episodes.)

The surname Tennille is probably of French origin. My guess is that it’s a variant of Tenniel, which is thought to derive from the French place name Thénioux.

Do you like Tennille as a baby name? Would you use it? (How would you spell it?)


P.S. Did you know that there are two Canadian country singers named Tenille?

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.]

Biggest Baby Name Debuts of All Time: Girls, 30 to 21

biggest baby name debuts of all time, girl names, 30 to 21

And now for the third installment of the top baby name debuts for girls.

From 30 to 21:

Aideliz, Rosangelica & Unnamed, 3-way tie for #30

  • Aideliz debuted with 91 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Aideliz Hidalgo, a contestant on the TV beauty pageant “Nuestra Belleza Latina 2008.”
  • Rosangelica debuted with 91 baby girls in 1993.
    Inspired by Rosangelica, a character on the telenovela “Rosangelica.”
  • Unnamed debuted with 91 baby girls in 1989.
    No inspiration; possibly related to the great baby name glitch of 1989.

Alliyah, #29

  • Alliyah debuted with 94 baby girls in 1994.
    Inspired by singer Aaliyah.

Greydis & Sharday, 2-way tie for #28

  • Greydis debuted with 100 baby girls in 2009.
    Inspired by Greidys Gil, winner of the TV beauty pageant Nuestra Belleza Latina 2009.
  • Sharday debuted with 100 baby girls in 1985.
    Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].

Torey, #27

  • Torey debuted with 102 baby girls in 1959.
    Inspired by the TV sitcom “Peck’s Bad Girl.”

Tennille, #26

  • Tennille debuted with 103 baby girls in 1975.
    Inspired by the duo Captain & Tennille.

Izamar, #25

  • Izamar debuted with 107 baby girls in 1990.
    Inspired by Isamar Medina, a character on the telenovela “La Revancha.”

Kelis, #24

  • Kelis debuted with 108 baby girls in 2000.
    Inspired by singer Kelis.

Cotina, #23

Jaleesa, #22

  • Jaleesa debuted with 116 baby girls in 1987.
    Inspired by Jaleesa Vinson, a character on the TV sitcom “A Different World.”

Turkessa, #21

  • Turkessa debuted with 119 baby girls in 1975.
    Inspired by Turkessa (b. 1975), baby of Supremes singer Mary Wilson.

The final two groups of ten are coming up tomorrow and Friday. Stay tuned!

*The Top 50 Baby Name Debuts for Girls: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1*

Biggest Baby Name Debuts of the 1970s

More decade-by-decade debuts!

Here are the biggest debuts of the 1970s, a follow-up to the biggest debuts of the 1980s.

These are all of the “100+” debut names — names that went from being given to fewer than 5 babies per year to suddenly being given to more than 100 babies in one particular year.

  1. Kizzy: 1,115 baby girls in 1977
  2. Nakia: 611 baby boys in 1974
  3. Levar: 523 baby boys in 1977
  4. Kunta: 215 baby boys in 1977
  5. Ayanna: 194 baby girls in 1971
  6. Azure: 121 baby girls in 1975
  7. Turkessa: 119 baby girls in 1975
  8. Cotina: 109 baby girls in 1972
  9. Tennille: 103 baby girls in 1975

And, again, all came from pop culture:

  • Kizzy, Levar and Kunta were inspired by the TV miniseries Roots (1977).
  • Nakia was inspired by short-lived TV show Nakia (1974).
  • Ayanna was inspired by Ayanna, daughter of Dick Gregory.
  • Azure was inspired by Azure Dee, both a character and a song (sung by Telly Savalas himself) in an episode of Kojak.
  • Turkessa was inspired by Turkessa, daughter of Mary Wilson of the Supremes.
  • Cotina was inspired by soap opera Where the Heart Is.
  • Tennille was inspired by Captain & Tennille.

Nineties next!