Ashley Name Meaning

toddler girl

 JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

What Does Ashley Mean?

Are you looking for a fun, adorable name that was wildly popular in the 80s, but has since become less common? Consider using the name Ashley.

Ashley is derived from the Old English words æsc (ash) and lēah (forest glade). It originally referred to a meadow where ash trees were found, and then became an English family name.

  • Origin: At first a place name, Ashley was used as an English surname and then as a given name. 
  • Gender: Ashley is used as a first name for both boys and girls.
  • Pronunciation: ASH-lee

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex need not play any role in your name selection process. It’s important to select the name that you feel best suits your new baby.

How Popular Is the Name Ashley?

Ashley was among the top 10 names for girls in America for over twenty years, from 1983 until 2005, peaking at No. 1 in 1991 and 1992.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Ashley was more commonly used as a masculine name. This shifted in the 1960s when it started gaining popularity as a name for girls. By the mid-1990s, Ashley was used almost exclusively as a girl name; since 1994, it has not ranked among the top 1000 names for boys in the U.S.

Ashley remains a fairly popular name for girls. The latest statistics rank Ashley as the No. 154 name for girls in America. Keep in mind that, while the name Ashley is now more commonly used for girls, it can be used any way you see fit, as sex does not have to be a part of your name selection process.

Name Variations

When Ashley was mainly in use as a masculine name, Ashleigh was sometimes used as a feminine variation. Now it is merely an alternate spelling, along with Ashlea, Ashlee, Ashli, Ashlie, and Ashly.

Similar Names

If you’re looking for an alternative to Ashley, there is the biblical name Asher, which comes from a Hebrew word meaning “happy” or “blessing.” This is a traditionally masculine name but can be used for boys or girls.

The name Ashlyn (also spelled Ashlin or Ashlynn) bears a resemblance to Ashley but it is actually derived from the Irish name Aisling which means “dream” or “vision.”

There are several other popular girl names ending in -ley:

  • Ainsley
  • Brinley
  • Finley
  • Hadley
  • Hailey
  • Kinsley
  • Paisley
  • Riley

Any of these can also be spelled with the -lee, -leigh, -lie, or -ly ending.

More girl names starting with A:

  • Abigail
  • Addison
  • Alyssa
  • Amanda
  • Amelia
  • Anna
  • Aria
  • Aubrey
  • Autumn
  • Ava
  • Avery

Suggested Sibling Names

Possible names to go along with Ashley are:

  • Adam
  • Andrew
  • Danielle
  • Kayla
  • Lauren
  • Matthew
  • Nicholas
  • Nicole
  • Ryan

Famous People Named Ashley

Although Ashley is more popular among girls now, there are a plethora of famous female and male Ashleys.

Female Ashleys

  • Ashleigh Banfield, Canadian-American journalist
  • Ashley Benson, American actress
  • Ashley Biden, American social worker and activist, President Biden's daughter
  • Ashley Bouder, American ballet dancer, principal dancer at the New York City Ballet
  • Ashley Eckstein, American voice actress known for her roles in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Sofia the First”
  • Ashley Frangipane, known professionally as Halsey, American singer and songwriter
  • Ashley Greene, American actress
  • Ashley Harkleroad, American tennis player
  • Ashley Jensen, British actress
  • Ashley Johnson, American actress and singer
  • Ashley Judd, American actress
  • Ashley Nicole Black, American comedian and writer
  • Ashley Olsen, American actress
  • Ashley Roberts, pop singer with the band Pussycat Dolls
  • Ashley Tisdale, American singer and actress
  • Ashlee Simpson, American pop/rock singer and actress, younger sister of Jessica Simpson

Male Ashleys

  • Ashley Cole, English footballer
  • Ashley Cooper, Australian tennis player
  • Ashley Fisher, Australian tennis player
  • Ashley Giles, English cricketer
  • Ashley Hutchings, British folk musician
  • Ashley MacIsaac, Canadian professional fiddler
  • Ashley Montagu, British anthropologist and humanist
  • Ashley Walters, British actor
  • Ashley Young, English footballer

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popular Baby Names.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.