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Ashley Name Meaning

Updated
Learn about the name Ashley including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Ashley Overview

  • Meaning: Ashley is a very popular name in the UK and England. It combines the Old English words, “æsc,” relating to the “ash” tree type, and “lēah” meaning forest glade. Together, the name means “Dweller near the ash tree meadow.”
  • Gender: Ashley is a name given to boys and girls. In the UK, it is more common as a boy’s name. In contrast, in the United States, it is more often given to girls.
  • Origin: The name Ashley is an Old English name from the 16th Century. It was originally the last name, then was given to boys as a forename. It was popularized by Lord Ashley, a British social reformer in the 1800s. It was later adopted as a name for girls.
  • Pronunciation: Ashley is most commonly pronounced “ASH-lee.”
  • Popularity: Ashley is a popular name for both men and women.
  • Nicknames: Ash, Asher, Dashley, Lay Lay, Lee, Leigh.
  • Variations: Aisling (Irish), Ashleigh (English), Ashlea (English), Ashlee (English), Ashli (English), Ashlie (English), Ashly (English), Ashlyn (English), Ashlin (Irish), Ashlynn (English).
  • Namesakes: Ashley Benson (American actress), Ashley Judd (American actress).

The name Ashely has become increasingly popular in recent years. But, what are the origins of this name and how did it develop? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more!

What Does the Name Ashley Mean?

Ashley is a combination of several Old English words, “æsc,” relating to the tree type “ash,” and “lēah,” meaning forest glade.

The name was a reference to meadows before it became a common last name. It directly translated to “Dweller near the ash tree meadow.”

Ashley was given to boys as a first name. It stayed that way until the 1800s, when it also started to be adopted for girls (1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Ashley?

The name Ashley comes from England in the 1500s. It was originally the last name, then was given to men as a first. It was popularized in the 1800s by “Lord Ashley,” the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, a British social reformer and politician.

How Popular Is the Name Ashley?

In the UK, Ashley has ranked in the top 50-300 names for boys, depending on the year. It wasn’t as popular as a girl’s name in the UK and dropped off the lists of the top names after 2010.

In the USA, the name enjoyed a rise in popularity thanks to the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” Today, it has declined as a feminine name. It reached number 154 in 2020 (2).

How Do I Pronounce Ashley?

Ashley is pronounced just as it is spelled, “ASH-lee.” There are no other common ways to say it.

Is Ashley a Boy or Girl Name?

Ashley is a boy and a girl’s name. In the UK, it is more commonly associated with boys. However, in the USA, it is typically given to a girl.

Variations of Ashley

There are plenty of variations for the name Ashley. A sample of the many variations, but not all, include:

  • Aisling (Irish)
  • Ashleigh (English)
  • Ashlea (English)
  • Ashlee (English)
  • Ashli (English)
  • Ashlie (English)
  • Ashly (English)
  • Ashlyn (English)
  • Ashlin (Irish)
  • Ashlynn (English)

Nicknames for Ashley

But for how many variations there are, not that many nicknames exist.

These include:

Similar Names to Ashley

There are also a handful of names similar to Ashley. Some of those include:

Middle Names for Ashley

Ashley can pair well with some great secondary names, such as:

Sibling Names for Ashley

Many names go great alongside Ashley for a sibling, whether boy or girl. Some of them include:

For a brother:

And for a sister:

Famous People Named Ashley

There are also many famous people named Ashley. Ashley Judd, the American actress, is one that you might think of off the top.

Some of the most famous include:

  • Ashley Benson: American actress.
  • Ashley Biden: American social worker and activist. President Joe Biden’s daughter.
  • Ashley Bouder: American ballet dancer, principal dancer at the New York City Ballet.
  • Ash Stymest: British model and songwriter.
  • Ashley Wood: Australian comic book artist.

Ashley in Popular Culture

Today, many Ashleys are characters in pop culture as well.

You might recognize:

  • Ash Williams: A main character from the “Evil Dead” film series.
  • Ashley Abbott: A character from the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.”
  • Ashley Banks: Character in the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
  • Ashley Wilkes: Main character in the novel “Gone With the Wind.”
  • Ask Ashley: Comedy skit from Nickelodeon’s show “All That.”

Ashley FAQs

There might be some other questions in your mind about the name Ashley. Let’s look at some.

Is Ashley a British Name?

Since the origin combines two Old English words, Ashley is absolutely an English name. Indeed, Ashley is a popular name in the UK and is primarily given to boys.

What Color Is the Name Ashley?

The name Ashley is associated with several colors, including red and violet. These are considered to be lucky. As well, it is connected with the metals copper and iron.

Is Ashley a Pretty Name?

Ashley is a pretty name. It comes from the meaning of trees and meadows and has been taken by people from countless countries and backgrounds.

Is the Name Ashley French?

Ashley is used for French girls and carries the same meaning as its English usage.

What Is Ashley’s Personality?

The name Ashley is often considered to be connected to realistic decision-making. Many people named Ashley demonstrate intelligence, guts, flow, and intuition. Ashleys have interests in the unknown, from what’s behind a rock, to what is the meaning of life.

What Is the Significance of Ash Trees?

Ash trees were given the meaning of being protective by not only the Vikings but the Gaelic people as well. They are very popular, the second most of any tree, and were known to create a protective layer for pure water sources.

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