What turned Blade into a baby name in the early 1980s?

The character Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) from the movie "Blade Runner" (1982)
Rick Deckard from “Blade Runner”

The name Blade first emerged in the U.S. baby name data in 1982:

  • 1984: 8 baby boys named Blade
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 7 baby boys named Blade [debut]
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: unlisted


I think the influence was the 1982 movie Blade Runner, which was based on the dystopian sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick.

The movie was set in Los Angeles in 2019. The main character, Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford), worked as a “blade runner” — a police officer tasked with tracking down and killing genetically-engineered humans known as “replicants” (which were designed to work in space colonies, but sometimes escaped to Earth).

This is one of several cases in which a baby name seems to have been inspired by a movie title as opposed to a movie character. Another example is Seattle, which debuted the year after Sleepless in Seattle came out.

The baby name Blade went on to see a steep rise in usage during the first half of the 1990s, no doubt thanks to the Young and the Restless character Alexander “Blade” Bladeson (played by Michael Tylo). The character appeared on the soap opera from early 1992 to late 1995.

The character Blade (played by Wesley Snipes) from the movie "Blade" (1998)
Blade from “Blade”

Blade never managed to crack the boys’ top 1,000, but it did reach and maintain its highest level of popularity from the mid-’90s through the first years of the 2000s.

  • 2003: 89 baby boys named Blade
  • 2002: 112 baby boys named Blade (peak popularity)
  • 2001: 103 baby boys named Blade
  • 2000: 95 baby boys named Blade
  • 1999: 99 baby boys named Blade

During most of this period, the primary pop culture influence would have been the movie character Blade, who was featured in a trilogy of superhero/horror films: Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), and Blade: Trinity (2004).

Blade (played by Wesley Snipes) was an African-American dhampir (half-human, half-vampire) whose mission was to hunt and kill vampires. His birth name was Eric Brooks; his nickname was a reference to his proficiency with bladed weapons such as swords and daggers. (Like Black Panther, Blade originated as a Marvel comic book character.)

What are your thoughts on the baby name Blade? Would you use it?

Sources: Blade Runner – Wikipedia, List of The Young and the Restless characters (1990s) – Wikipedia, Blade (character) – Wikipedia, Blade (Eric Brooks) – Marvel, SSA

Images: Screenshots of Blade Runner and Blade

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