Depending on how you choose to look at it, Cheyanne is either a misspelling of Cheyenne (the name of a Native American Indian tribe) or it’s a phonetically feminized repurposing of Cheyenne (with the more girly “-anne” suffix). Cheyenne itself (as a girl’s name) is a modern coinage taken from the Indian nation that once inhabited the area between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers in the Great Plains. The word “Cheyenne” is French Canadian, originating from Sioux Dakota word “šahíyena” meaning “speak incoherently” from the elements “ša” (red) and “ya” (speak). The Dakotas considered their own Sioux-based language clear and understandable (i.e., “white talkers”); but the Algonquian-based language of the Cheyenne was unintelligible and alien sounding (hence “red talkers”). The Cheyennes were one of the most prominently famous of all the Great Plains nations and were closely allied with the Lakotas to the east and the Arapahos to the south. As time went on, the Cheyenne people were eventually pushed more northwest (Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas). In fact, the state capital of Wyoming is named after the Cheyenne Indians. As with the popularity of Dakota for little girls, Cheyenne is another Native-American inspired name which gained a large following in the 1990s. Due to Cheyenne’s success as a baby girl’s name in America, the misspellings/respellings of Cheyanne and Shyanne emerged as alternate variations. As a personal name derived from a proper name, however, it may be best to spell Cheyenne correctly or you run the risk of looking silly. It would be akin to spelling Dakota DaKotah.

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Cheyanne first appeared on the American female naming charts in 1991, coinciding with the rising popularity of Cheyenne. In fact, Cheyenne even managed to achieve Top 100 status between 1994 and 2000. As it turns out, these were the most popular years for Cheyanne, as well. Basically, Cheyanne has been riding the coattails of Cheyenne since her debut on the charts (just to a much, much lesser extent).

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Statistically speaking, 80% of parents who opt for this name will spell it correctly, while the other 20% will spell it “incoherently”. Perhaps that’s the greatest irony of all.