Derived from the Anglo-Saxon words ash and Leah, Ashley is a popular unisex name of English origins. After looking into its etymological background, I’ve discovered the meaning of the name Ashley.
Meaning of the name Ashley: The meaning of the name Ashley is “ash tree meadow” or “pasture of ash trees.” It was derived from the Anglo-Saxon words ash and Leah, which respectively mean “ash” and “meadow.”
Origins of the Name Ashley
Etymological findings suggest that Ashley was first used as a given name in England around the 16th century. The name itself is a variant of the Anglo-Saxon words ash and Leah. In the 16th century England, these words were combined to form the given name, Ashley.
At first, Ashley wasn’t a common name in England or elsewhere. In the 1600s, however, the name gained widespread attention thanks to its use by Anthony Ashley Cooper. From 1661 to 1672, Anthony Ashley Cooper was an English politician who served under King Charles II. He was most known for founding the Whig party, which contested the power held by other English political factions.
Surprisingly, Ashley was originally used as a masculine name. It wasn’t until the 1800s when parents began naming their newborn girls Ashley as well. Since then, Ashley has gained popularity as a girls’ name and lost popularity as a boys’ name.
The popularity of the Name Ashley
Although it’s considered a unisex name, Ashley is far more popular with girls than boys. In 1951, it ranked as the 2,641st most popular girls’ name in the United States. In 1960, Ashley ranked as the 1,457th most popular girls’ name in the country. In the years to follow, Ashley became increasingly popular. In 1964, for example, it climbed the charts to become the 771st most popular girls’ name in the United States.
The name Ashley became particularly popular during the 1970s and 80s. In 1977, it was the 106th most popular girls’ name in the United States. In 1991 and 1992, it ranked as the single most popular girls’ name in the country, with birth records showing that over 30,000 newborn girls were named Ashley during each of these years.
Famous men and women who’ve been named Ashley include British actress Ashley Jensen, American actress Ashley Johnson, American actress Ashley Judd, Australian actor Ashley Zukerman, British actor Ashley Dawson, British musician Ashley Slater and Canadian actress Ashley Leggat.
Popular variants of the name Ashley include Ash, Asle, Ashlee, Ashlie, and Ashleigh.
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