Check out this Ashley name meaning guide to decide whether it’s the right fit for your newborn! The origin, meaning, and popularity are among many factors to consider if you plan to give your new kid this name.
If “Ashley” already convinces you and your partner, check out the best middle names, sibling names, and nicknames to pair with it.
A Brief Look At The Name Ashley
Here’s a quick look at the meaning, origin, and other useful info about the name Ashley:
|Meaning||Ashley means “dweller near the ash tree meadow”.|
|Origin||The name has its root in Old English words. It consists of two Anglo-Saxon elements: “æsc” and “lēah”.|
When used as an English name, Ashley took on the meaning “dweller near the ash tree meadow”. The name started as a surname, but now it’s more popular as a given name.
|Popularity||Ashley was a predominantly male name from 1901 to 1963 in the US. In 1964, the name initially appeared on the popularity chart as a girl’s name.|
Nevertheless, Ashley is now a common name for baby girls in America, with its 172nd spot in 2021. The name, however, has been out of the top 1000 most popular boy names since 1994.
|Variations||Ashli, Ashlyn, Ashleigh, Ashlie, Ashlea, Ashly, Ashlynn, Ashlee, Aisling, or Ashlin.|
|Nicknames||Ash, Asher, Dashley, Lay Lay, Lee, Leigh.|
|Similar Names||Adley, Ainsley, Ansley, Asher, Brinley, Finley, Hadley, Hailey, Kinsley, Paisley, etc.|
|Sibling Names||For Boys: Andrew, Alex, Brandon, Charles, Daniel, James, Joshua, Ryan, Samuel, etc.|
For Girls: Alyssa, Amber, Bryony, Isobel, Kate, Megan, Phoebe, Samantha, etc.
|Middle Names||For Boys: Eden, Harlow, Morgan, Ryan, Theodore, etc.|
For Girls: Claire, Laura, Ophelia, Quinn, Ramona, etc.
Behind The Name: The Origin And Meaning Of Ashley
Ashley is a unisex name and comes from Old English. It is pronounced “/ˈæʃli/”. The name is stemmed from the two Anglo-Saxon words æsc (ash) and lēah, which means “ash tree meadow” when combined.
So the word mainly denotes a place – the meadows where the ash tree was found. Ashley then developed as an English surname, meaning “dweller near the ash tree meadow”.
This name also carries a meaning in Hebrew. The word is occasionally used as a diminutive for “Asher”, which translates to “blessed”.
Is Ashley A Name For Boys Or Girls?
Ashley started as a given name for males in Britain and many European nations. Records show that it was first used as a surname in the latter half of the 12th in ancient Britain.
By the late 13th, its popularity had spread throughout this country. The name remained an exclusive name for males for quite a long time.
Its major appeal during this period is partly credited to the male politician Lord Ashley in the 17th century (1). Ashley Wilkes in the famous 1939 novel “Gone With The Wind” is perhaps the best-known character with this name in America.
While Ashley is still mainly used for males in this country, the name has lost heat in recent years. On the contrary, Ashley is used as a male and female name in the US. However, it’s significantly preferable for girls than boys.
How Popular Is The Name Asley Over Time?
According to the Social Security Administration data, Ashley only appeared on the popularity chart in the early 1900s. It was not until 1964 that the name broke into the popularity chart as a female name.
Surprisingly, the popularity of Ashley as a feminine name in the US took up quickly. It witnessed an uninterrupted upward trend since 1964.
The name was in the top 3 most popular girl’s names between 1984-1997. During this period, Ashley was the most used girl’s name in 1991 and 1992. Fun fact: you can guess most female Ashleys in America right now are in their 30s.
Ashley is still among the solid choices to name baby girls in the US. In 2021, it ranked 172nd in the most-used female name chart (2).
Ashley, as a boy name, was most popular in 1980, ranked 282nd on the chart. It is also its highest spot to date. Unfortunately, the masculine name has been out of the top 1000 baby names since 1995.
Popular Name Variations
Since “Ashley” has been around for such a long time, you can expect to find many of its spelling variations. There is a feminine equivalent of Ashley, which is “Ashleigh”.
Other than that, below are a few variants of this unisex name:
- Ashli, Ashlyn, Ashleigh, Ashlie, Ashlea, Ashly, Ashlynn, Ashlee (English)
- Aisling, Ashlin (Irish)
Nicknames And Similar Names Of Ashley
If you’re looking for a nickname for Ashley, here are a few lovely options to consider:
- Lay Lay
There are also many alternatives to “Ashley”, so you can have more options for your baby. Some bear certain resemblances to Ashley, with the same origin and meadow-related meaning.
Others might have a similar sound or rhythm. Yet, they might come from different roots and mean differently:
|Adley||/ad-ley/||God is just||Hebrew|
|Ainsley||/ˈeɪnzli/||One’s own meadow||Scottish, British|
|Ansley||/ANS lee/||Hermitage field, Clearing with a hermitage||British|
|Asher||/ah-shur/||Blessed or happy||Hebrew|
|Finley||/FIN-lee/||Fair-haired hero||Scottish, Irish|
|Hailey||/ha(i)-ley/||Hay’s meadow, hero, wise one||British, Norse, Irish|
Suggested Sibling Names For Ashley
If you’ve decided to go for Ashley, let’s browse through the sibling names to match. Below are options for Ashley’s brothers and sisters to build your dream team:
If Ashley’s sibling is a boy, you may want to select any of these masculine names (that go along with Ashley):
Andrew: Andrew is an inherently strong boy name. It means “strong” and “manly”, and comes from Greek roots.
In the Bible, Andrew was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles and the brother of Simon Peter. Besides, Saint Andrew is the patron saint of several countries, notably Scotland and Russia.
Alex: The name Alex is of Greek origin and translates to “defender of humankind”. It’s considered a shortened alternative to the male name Alexander and the female name Alexandra.
Nevertheless, Alex is also a favorite boy name when standing alone in recent years. It topped 194th in the US chart in 2021.
Brandon: Like Ashley, Brandon also comes from Old English words. It means “broom-covered hill”, and was used as a place name before becoming a surname.
Brandon is also believed to have Welsh and Irish roots, which translates to “crow” and “chieftain”, respectively.
Charles: “Charles” is derived from the Germanic word “karilaz” and means “free man”. The name has a flare of royalty with many notable bearers.
It was borne by Charlemagne or Charles the Great – the first Holy Roman Emperor. There were also two England Kings with this name – Charles I and Charles II.
Daniel: Daniel is a Hebrew-origin masculine name, with the meaning of “God is my judge”.
It can be both a surname and a given name. This name has been impressively among the top 20th most popular names ever since 1952.
James: James is a biblical name and means “replacer” or “supplanter”. In the Bible, Saint James was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles.
Joshua: Joshua is a common biblical boy name.
Derived from the Hebrew יהושע (Yehoshua), Joshua refers to “God is my salvation”. Joshua, in the Hebrew Bible, was who led Israelite tribes to the Promised Land after the passing of Moses.
Samuel: This is another name of Hebrew origin. It has two prevalent meanings: “God has heard” and “name of God”.
Samuel was a major figure in the Old Testament who appointed Saul as the first king of Israel. The name is present in many major Western languages, such as English, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.
These feminine names have fantastic meanings and also sound cool alongside your little Ashley:
Alyssa: Alyssa is thought to come from the flower alyssum’s name. Hence, its popular meaning is “rational”. When traced back to its Irish root, this melodic name also means “noble”.
Amber: From its Latin and French roots, this given name refers to “amber-colored”. It’s also thought to come from the Arabic word “Ambar”, which means “jewel”.
Thus, it’s a nice option if you’re seeking an alternative to “Ruby” or “Jade” to name your precious one.
Bryony: “to sprout” is the meaning behind this Latin feminine name. Bryony is also a vigorous perennial vine. It’s a great option if you want something close to nature but still meaningful for your kids.
Isobel: Isobel carries depths and spirituality in its meaning – “pledged to God”. It’s a variation of Elisabeth or Elizabeth, but with a more special sound.
Kate: “Kate” is also a nice choice for your little angel, with the meaning “pure”. While it’s a widely-used nickname for “Catherine” and “Katherine”, Kate is also a fantastic name stand-alone.
British royal Kate Middleton and actress Kate Winslet are people who share this name.
Megan: This girl’s name is borne by well-known celebrities like Megan Fox or Duchess of Sussex Rachel Meghan Markle. It originates in Welsh and translates to “pearl”. The name is quite popular in American, English, and Welsh.
Phoebe: Phoebe is a Greek-rooted sun name). Derived from the God of the sun – Phoebus Apollo, Phoebe means “radiant” or “shining one”.
Samantha: Samantha is widely accepted as a feminine version of Samuel. Thus, it has comparable meanings: “name of God” and “God has heard”. Another belief is that it comes from the Greek word “anthos”, which means “flower”.
Recommended Middle Names For Ashley
Ashley can be used as a surname or given name. However, it’s apparently more popular as a given name. With that in mind, I’ve rounded out some fantastic middle names to pair with it!
Ashley already sounds great on its own. Yet, these masculine middle names will only add extra meaning and appeal to your son’s name.
Eden: This Hebrew-rooted name translates to “place of pleasure, delight”. In the Old Testament Book of Genesis, the Garden of Eden was the earthly paradise created by God for Adam and Eva (3).
Harlow: Harlow is a badass name with the meanings of “army hill” or “rocky hill”. This British name might help infuse some strength and courage into your baby boy.
Morgan: Ashley Morgan sounds effortlessly classy. This middle name is of Welsh origin and an ideal choice for sea lovers. It means “sea-song”, “sea-born”, or ‘sea-circle”.
Ryan: While the original meaning of Ryan remained unknown, it has a popular modern interpretation – “little king”. With a royal flair to it, this name is a favorite among families in Ireland, the UK, and the US.
Theodore: Theodore is a spiritual name of Greek origin. Boys named Theodore must be a treasure to their parents as it means “gift of God”.
If you decide Asley is your next daughter’s name, these beautiful middle names will make your little Ashley extra unique.
Claire: As the French form of Clara, Claire means “clear, bright”. This one-syllable name is very common in the US. In 2021, it held the 59th spot in the name popularity chart, according to the Social Security Administration statistics.
Laura: Laura is an elegant and classic name. This Latin-origin name means “bay Laure”, which symbolizes honor and victory.
Ophelia: This three-syllable name comes from the Greek word “ōphéleia”, which means “benefit”. The common meanings of this name include “aid” and “help”.
Quinn: This lovely girl’s name is suitable for a smart and knowledgeable girl.
It comes from the Irish language and means “Descendent Of Conn”. “Con” is derived from the word “ceann”, which refers to “chief leader”, “head”, and “intelligence”.
Ramona: “protecting hands” or “wise protector” is the interpretation of this Spanish name. Besides North America, the name is often used in Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the Republic of Moldova.
The Use Of Ashley In Popular Culture
Ashley is common in popular culture as well. Below are some popular examples that you might have heard of:
Ashley Abbott: a fictional character from two American soap operas: The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.
Ashley Banks: character in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Ashley Thomas: a character in the British soap opera Emmerdale.
Ashley Wilkes: fictional character in Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind (published in 1936) and the movie of the same name.
Ash Williams: anti-hero protagonist of the Evil Dead series.
Celebrities Of The Name Ashley
You’ve probably come across a few famous personalities named Ashley. If not, look at these names that might inspire you to choose Ashley for your next kid!
With Ashley As Their Given Name
Ashley Biden (born 1981): American social worker, activist, and fashion designer. She’s President Biden’s daughter.
Ashley Bouder (born 1983): American ballet dancer.
Ashley Cole (born 1980): English former footballer and first-team coach.
Ashley Fisher (born 1975): Australian tennis player.
Ashley Frangipane (born 1994): American songwriter and singer professionally known as Halsey.
Ashley Greene (born 1987): American actress.
Ashley Nicole Black (born 1985): American writer, actress, and comedian.
Ashley Stymest (born 1991): Better known as Ash Stymest, English actor, musician, and model.
Ashley Walters (born 1982): British rapper, songwriter, and actor.
Ashley Wood (born 1971): Australian comic book artist.
With Ashley As Their Surname
While “Ashley” started as a surname, the name is preferred as a given name in modern times. Most celebrities with Ashley as a surname were born in the 1990s or earlier, and here are some examples.
Bernard Ashley (born 1935): British author
Elizabeth Ashley (born 1939): American actress
John Ashley (1934-1997): American actor
Lyn Ashley (born 1940): Australian actress
Sylvia Ashley (1904-1977): English actress, model, and socialite.
Walker Lee Ashley (born 1960): American former footballer
Before leaving, you may want to check out some of the common questions about this popular English name:
Do You Want An Ashley In Your Home?
Ashley is still a solid choice for a given name in the US, especially for baby girls. Besides, many middle names can match exceedingly well with it, which is always a huge bonus.
Whether you name a girl or boy Ashley, it always sounds classic and respectable. The name is also accompanied by a long history to tell and a long list of famous people to inspire your child.
Does Ashley sound like a good choice for your newborn? You can share with me by leaving a comment! Also, click the share button to introduce this name to your friends and family!
- britannica.com. 2022. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th earl of Shaftesbury
- ssa.gov. 2022. The Popularity Of A Name
- worldhistory.org. 2018. Garden of Eden