Ash is a diminutive of Ashley. Ashley originates in Old English language and means "meadow of ash trees". It was derived from an Old English place name and surname. Initially, it was more popular as a masculine given name, popularized by the character of Ashley Wilkes in the novel and a subsequent film Gone With the Wind. In the second half of the 20th century it started being used more as a feminine given name, possibly popularized by the soap opera character of Ashley Abbott in the TV show The Young and The Restless.