Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Ashley

Ashley originated as an English surname turned masculine name turned unisex name turned female name. That’s quite a journey! As the transferred use of a surname, Ashley comes from the Olde English elements “æsc” meaning “ash” and “leah” meaning “clearing, meadow”. It would have originally described a clearing among ash trees, and the surname would have been assigned to a person who hailed from such a topographical region. In Norse mythology, the first man created by the gods was formed from an ash tree. The Celts, impressed with its massive size, associated the ash tree with power, expansion and scale. Its girth, height, and deeply complex root system were all metaphors for the spiritually minded Celtic people. In both Norse/Viking and Celtic folklore, the ash tree was mainly a symbol of protectiveness. Like a gentle giant, the ash tree was also a guardian of children and a healing agent for childhood illnesses. As a given name, Ashley was first recorded in the 16th century; although, it was almost exclusively given to boys back then. In recent years however, the name has gotten in touch with her feminine side iand is now almost entirely restricted to baby girls. Aside from Ashley’s surname roots, the name may also share etymological beginnings borrowed from the Irish. The name “Ainslinn” (pronounced ash + ling) derives from the Gaelic word “aisling” meaning “dream, vision”. The type of dream is specific to a vision of a beautiful woman from the spirit world. Once dreamt, the dreamer can no longer be content again.

All About the Baby Name – Ashley

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME ASHLEY

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME ASHLEY

The name Ashley is technically a unisex name, but it’s no longer used for boys so we’re exclusively categorizing it as female. Ashley does appear on the American charts for boys intermittently in the past 100 years, but only at very low levels of success. For girls, it’s quite a different story. Considered a more modern moniker for girls, Ashley became a fast favorite in the 1980s; she struck with a fury seldom seen. It is thought that the influence came from a character named Ashley Abbott on the popular soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” Ashley actually enjoyed the #1 spot for two consecutive years (1991-1992); an honor very few names can claim. The name has been dropping more aggressively since 2005 but she still maintains Top 50 status (although barely).

Quick Facts

ON ASHLEY

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

67

PRONUNCIATION:

ASH-lee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Clearing among ash trees

Characteristics

OF ASHLEY

Mystical

Wise

Eccentric

Intuitive

Imaginative

Philosophical

Solitary

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Ashley

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ASHLEY

(Lady) Brett Ashley is really the only female character of Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel, The Sun also Rises, about a group of Americans and British in France and Spain post World War I. Brett is beautiful, willful, independent and thoroughly modern. But of course – she is not happy. Having lost her true love during the war, she is unable to commit to any one man. This includes the American expatriate, Jake Barnes, whom she sincerely loves, but with whom she is unable to have a physically complete relationship. Brett is a fascinating study of a new woman emerging after a cataclysmic war and before a devastating Depression – a world in which many felt rudderless, left drifting on a landscape that had forever changed, trying to carve a new order out of lost myths. Lady Brett Ashley is none too successful at it; the novel’s end finds her alone and penniless and nostalgic for what might have been but never was.

ok, so this is a male character, but we were having trouble locating significant female literary characters by the name of Ashley. Ashley Wilkes is a central character in Margret Mitchell’s 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Gone with the Wind.” He is the blond, honorable and quintessential southern man from an excellent family who serves as juxtaposition to the dark, opportunistic character of Rhett Butler. Ashley initially courts Scarlett O’Hara but eventually marries the kind and noble Melanie Hamilton, thus setting into motion Scarlett’s central conflict in the novel.

Popular Songs

ON ASHLEY

Ashley
a song by Marla Sokoloff

Ashley Falls
an Irish song by the Young Dubliners

Ashley’s Song
a song by GrandBob

Famous People

NAMED ASHLEY

Ashley Judd (actress)
Ashley Olsen (actress)
Ashley Tisdale (actor)
Ashley Judd (actress)
Ashley Olsen (actress)
Ashley Tisdale (actor)
Ashley Judd (actress)
Ashley Olsen (actress)
Ashley Tisdale (actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ASHLEY

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Ashley

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ASHLEY

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Ashley