Ashley (name)

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For other uses, see Ashley (disambiguation).
Gender Unisex(Male/Female)
Meaning Ash tree meadow
Other names
See also ASH, ASHES

The name "Ashley" /ˈæʃli/ is of English origin, from a place name and surname from the Old English words 'æsc' (ash) and 'lēah' (meadow, forest clearing).

As a given name, like most surnames turned into first names, Ashley was originally used for "only" male children. It was first recorded as a male given name in the 16th century and remained only male until around 350 years later.[1] Popular culture uses for boys with the name are Ashley Wilkes from 1939's Gone with the Wind and Popular Cult Hit Ash Williams (Ashley James Williams) from the 1982 Film Evil Dead. Ashley in the United Kingdom (where it originated from) is predominantly male, ranking at #49 in 1995 for boys and staying within the top 100 boys names until more recently. Ashleigh and Ashlee are the feminine spellings meant for females.[2]

Ashley gained popularity as a female first name in the United States in the late 20th century. It finally outranked boys usage by the late 1980s.It ranked #1 for girl usage in 1991. Its sudden rise in popularity is generally attributed to the emergence of the female soap opera character Ashley Abbott on The Young and The Restless in 1982.[citation needed].

Ashley has not appeared in the top American baby boy names since 1994.[3]

As with many names that achieve immense popularity, a number of spellings of Ashley emerged. The United States Social Security Administration has records[4] of many different spellings, including Ashley, Ashleigh, Ashlee, Ashlie, Ashlyn, and foreign-looking variants such as Ashlé (pseudo-French).


First name, female[edit]

First name, male[edit]

First name, variant spellings[edit]



In fiction[edit]

Popularity of the female name Ashley in the United States[edit]


Year of birth Rank
2010 13
2009 20
2008 18
2007 13
2006 12
2005 10
2004 8
2003 8
2002 22
2001 4
2000 4
1999 6

See also[edit]