Ashley (name)

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For other uses, see Ashley (disambiguation).
Gender Male/Female
Language(s) English
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 male children, but it gained popularity as a female first name in the United States in the late 20th century. 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] In the United Kingdom the name is used for both boys and girls although Ashleigh is meant for female spelling and Ashley has remained male. It is predominantly male in the united kingdom.[1]

Aisling, a similar-sounding name of separate etymology and Irish Gaelic origin, is a traditionally female noun meaning "vision" as of a feminine spirit, and became a popular name for girls in the early-to-mid 20th century. "Ashlyn" and "Ashlynn" are derived from this etymology, and "Ashley" may be back-derived as well.[2]

As with many names that achieve immense popularity, a number of spellings of Ashley emerged. The United States Social Security Administration has records[3] of many different spellings, including Ashley, Ashleigh, Ashlea, Ashlee, Ashlie, Ashlyn, and foreign variants such as Ashlé (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]