How popular is the baby name Dhahran 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 Dhahran.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dhahran

Posts that Mention the Name Dhahran

Interesting one-hit wonder names in the U.S. baby name data


They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.



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As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add the names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. You might also be interested in this list of the top one-hit wonder baby names since 1880

Where did the baby name Riyadh come from in 1991?

map of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia (Dhahran is very close to Dammam)

In 1991, the names Dhahran and Riyadh both popped up in the U.S. baby name data for the first time:

19935 baby boys.
199113 baby boys [debut]9 baby boys [debut]

Riyadh has re-appeared in the data several times since, whereas Dhahran remains a one-hit wonder.

Where did they come from?

Well, literally speaking, Saudi Arabia. Both are the names of important Saudi Arabian cities. Riyadh is the country’s capital, and Dhahran is where the oil company Saudi Aramco is based.

But what turned them into baby names in the United States in the early 1990s specifically?

The news. Both cities were mentioned repeatedly in the American news during the Gulf War (Aug. 1990 to Feb. 1991) — particularly during the first two months of 1991, when Iraq was launching Scud missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel. On February 25, for instance, a Scud missile fired at a U.S. Army barracks in Dhahran killed 28 U.S. soldiers (all reservists from Pennsylvania) and injured more than 100 others.

So, what do the place-names Dhahran and Riyadh mean?

The name Riyadh, in use since at least the 17th century, was derived from the Arabic word for “gardens” or “meadows” because the location is “a fertile spot just north of the confluence of the wadis Hanifa and Batha.”

The settlement of Dhahran, on the other hand, is much newer. It was constructed in the late 1930s “on who barren hills in the area” known in Arabic as dhahran (“two backs”).