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Ashley started as a surname, turned into a first name for boys, and eventually became one of the hottest baby names of the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout history, the name has been associated with the mighty ash tree, which is large, sturdy and powerful. While it has dropped a bit on the popularity list, it remains a solid baby name that may remind new parents of their own childhoods — a time when they likely grew up with several people named Ashley.

Meaning and Origin of the Name Ashley:

The baby name Ashley comes from the Anglo-Saxon words æsc, which means ash, and lēah, which means a meadow or clearing. It began as a place name, but it eventually became a surname for people who lived near ash tree meadows.

Symbolism of the Name Ashley:

The Celtic people associated the ash tree with power due to its massive size and sturdiness. Both Celtic and Norse folklore also relate the ash tree with protection, particularly protection for children.

baby name Ashley

Style of the Name Ashley:


Gender of the Name Ashley:

For hundreds of years, Ashley was considered a name for baby boys. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, it became a popular name for baby girls. Today, it is used for both boys and girls.

Pronunciation of the Name Ashley:


Number of Syllables in the Name Ashley:


Emotion Evoked by the Name Ashley:

The name Ashley evokes the idea of beauty, power and healing.

Alternative Spellings of the Name Ashley:

Ashleigh, Ashlee, Ashlea, Ashlie

Nicknames for the Name Ashley:

Popularity of the Name Ashley:

In 2022, Ashley was the 154th most popular name for baby girls in the United States. From 1983 to 2005, it was one of the top 10 names for baby girls, including two years at the number one spot.

Ainsley, Ashlynn, Asher, Aubrey

Great Middle Names for Ashley and their meaning:

Famous People with the Name Ashley:

  • Ashley Judd (actress)
  • Ashley Tisdale (singer and actress)
  • Ashley Olsen (actrees and business mogul)
  • Ashley Cole (soccer player)
  • Ashley Johnson (actress)

Ashleys from Movies/Pop Culture:

  • Ashley Wilkes (character in the book and movie Gone with the Wind)
  • Ashley Banks (character on the show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”)
  • Ashley Marin (character on the show “Pretty Little Liars”)
  • Ashley(character on the show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”)
  • Ashley(character on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless”)
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