As a girl's name it is a pet form of Alison, Alice (as in the case of American film actress Ali MacGraw, b. 1938), or any of the other female names formed with this first syllable. It is now also used as an independent given name. As a boy's name, it is used as a pet form of Alistair and is also an independent given name from an Arabic word meaning ‘sublime’ see ῾Ali.
English: of uncertain origin. If it is a habitational name, the location and etymology of the place from which it derives are obscure. Routledge, the more common form in the British Isles, is found mainly on the English-Scottish borders. The place in Cumbria, now called Routledge Burn, seems to have received its name in the 16th century from a member of the family rather than vice versa.