Take the classic Clayton, mix in a dash of Chase, and you’ll arrive at this unusual name.
Thanks to Amy for suggesting her son’s name as our Baby Name of the Day: Chayton.
Chayton: Video Game Name
Age of Empires is part-historical fiction, part-adventure, taking players from prehistory to the nineteenth century. Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs is set in the New World.
The Black family appears throughout the series. Chayton Black is a half-Lakota businessman named building railroads across the country. At first, his work brings him into conflict with Crazy Horse, but eventually he joins the battle against General Custer.
Instant baby name inspiration, right?
Empires 3 was released in 2005. Chayton was first given to more than five boys all the way back in 1990. If anything, the name was more popular before the video game.
Chayton: Modern Coinage
Is Chayton just a smoosh of popular sounds?
Chase entered the US Top 1000 back in 1995. I’ve seen Chay suggested as a modern nickname for Charles, though it remains rare.
Ends in -ton names have had a good run: think of Dalton, Colton, Clayton, Preston, Ashton, Trenton, Paxton, and Braxton.
Chayton is also an uncommon surname, though the -ton ending is a common one, usually referring to a settlement. There’s a good chance that some Chaytons were inspired by a surname on their family tree.
Chayton: Native American Name
Here’s where things get really interesting.
But site after site, along with a handful of books – many of them not known for scrupulous research – repeated the claim that Chayton was a Native American name meaning falcon.
In Empires 3, Chayton Black’s company is called Falcon. In the game, the Black family once went up against an Ottoman commander named Sahin. Sahin comes from a Turkish word meaning falcon or hawk.
My first assumption was that it was all a crazy misunderstanding, the kind that plagues the entire collection of Native American baby names on many a website.
Except this list includes Chatan and Chayton as Lakota names. While the -ton ending seemed like an outlier, Chatan fit with other names listed on the site, and elsewhere as Lakota names.
I found a nineteenth century dictionary that listed chahn shkah as the Lakota word for hawk. And then these two sites:
- Lakota Dictionary
- Sage and Sweetgrass Dictionary
Both translate the English word falcon or hawk into čhetáŋ. Or cetan, if you drop all of the diacritical marks. That’s almost Chayton.
Chayton: Modern Rarity with Roots
I started out this post thinking that Chayton was a modern invention boosted by fictional use.
Turns out that’s not exactly the case. It’s a stretch to claim that Chayton is a Native American given name – for lots of reasons. But it’s fair to say that Chayton is inspired by a Lakota word for falcon or hawk.
With an on-trend sound, and a great backstory, no wonder that more than 75 boys have received the name Chayton every year since 2008.
What do you think of Chayton? Could Chayton join Jackson and Mason in the US Top 100?