(…And this doesn’t even account for all the Tristan-related girl names that got a mid-’90s boost.)
So, what was the influence?
The character Tristan Ludlow (played by Brad Pitt) from the movie Legends of the Fall — a saga set in rural Montana during the early decades of the 1900s.
Tristan was the rebellious middle son of rancher Col. William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins). He and his brothers — the older, ambitious Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and the younger, naïve Samuel (Henry Thomas) — all fell in love with the same beautiful woman, Susannah (Julia Ormond).
Released at the very end of 1994, the “big, robust Western love story” ranked #1 at the box office for four weeks straight in the early months of 1995.
Regarding Tristan Ludlow’s first name, one incredibly prescient reviewer noted that we should “look for [it] to be given to more than a few babies over the next few years.”
Tristan Ludlow didn’t end up with Susannah, but he did get married — to a Native American woman named Isabel (Karina Lombard). The name Karina saw it’s highest-ever usage in 1995, and the usage of Isabel also increased — though it was already on the rise, so there’s no telling how much of the increase was due specifically to the film.
Speaking of Isabel’s rise…
The fact that Legends of the Fall featured both a character named Isabel and an actor named Aidan, and that forms of these names (Isabella and Aiden) went on to reach the U.S. top 10 — peaking almost simultaneously a decade and a half later — is very interesting to me. It makes me wonder whether the movie’s impact on U.S. baby names wasn’t substantially greater (but also more complex?) than what the mid-’90s data would have us believe.
Isabella ranking, U.S.
Aiden ranking, U.S.
(I began wondering about this after a friend of mine, who has a son named Aiden, mentioned that she’d had the name in the back of her mind ever since seeing Legends of the Fall as a teenager.)
What are your thoughts on this theory?
And, do you know anyone with a name that was inspired by Legends of the Fall?
Which boy names decreased in usage the most from 2020 to 2021?
Here’s a table of the fastest-falling boy names of 2021. On the left are the top 25 decreases in terms of absolute numbers of babies, and on the right are the top 25 decreases in terms of relative numbers of babies.
The boy name Marquavious adds up to 157, which reduces to four (1+5+7=13; 1+3=4).
4 via 166
The boy name Muhammadyusuf adds up to 166, which reduces to four (1+6+6=13; 1+3=4).
4 via 175
The unisex names Kosisochukwu adds up to 175, which reduces to four (1+7+5=13; 1+3=4).
What Does “4” Mean?
First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “4” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “4” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.
“4” (the tetrad) according to the Pythagoreans:
“Anatolius reports that it is called ‘justice,’ since the square (i.e., the area) […] is equal to the perimeter”
“It is the prerequisite of the general orderliness of the universe, so they everywhere called it a ‘custodian of Nature.'”
“Everything in the universe turns out to be completed in the natural progression up to the tetrad”
“The tetrad is the first to display the nature of solidity: the sequence is point, line, plane, solid (i.e. body).”
Examples of things that are divided into four parts:
“four traditional seasons of the year — spring, summer, autumn and winter.”
“four elements (fire, air, water and earth)”
“four cardinal points”
“four distinguishing points – ascendant, descendant, mid-heaven and nadir”
“Some say that all things are organized by four aspects – substance, shape, form and principle.”
“4” according to Edgar Cayce:
“In four, it makes for the greater weaknesses in the divisions…four being more of a division and weakness” (reading 261-15).
“In four, we find that of a division – and while a beauty in strength, in the divisions also makes for the greater weakness” (reading 5751-1).
Does “4” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 22, 49, 76, 103) — have any special significance to you?
Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe your favorite football team is the San Francisco 49ers, for example.
Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.
If you have any interesting insights about the number 4, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!
Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).