Transferred use of the Scottish surname, also spelled Ainslie, which is borne by a powerful family long established in the Scottish borders. It was originally a local name, taken north from either Annesley in Nottinghamshire or Ansley in Warwickshire. The former gets its name from the genitive case of the Old English name Ān (a short form of any of various compounds containing the word ān ‘one, only’) + Old English lēah ‘wood, clearing’. The latter is from Old English ānsetl ‘hermitage’ + lēah. It is borne by the chef and television personality Ainsley Harriott.