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 "only" male children. Popular culture uses for boys with the name are Ashley Wilkes from 1939's Gone with the Wind and Popular Cult Hit Ash Williams from 1982 Film Evil Dead. Ashley 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]. It was the #1 name given to females in 1991. In the United Kingdom the name is still 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]

American cultures generally take original boy names and use them on female children. Example - Aubrey, Courtney, Jordan, Morgan and Ashton which were all original boy names but have risen significantly as girl names. This may be due to the liberation of females becoming equal to men. Ashley has not been seen on the top baby boy names since 1994 in American Culture.[2] But was most used for boys in 1980.

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-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]