Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb \ˈask, ˈäsk; dial ˈaks\

Simple Definition of ask

  • : to say or write something to someone as a way of gaining information : to request an answer to a question

  • : to tell someone in the form of a question that you want to be given something or that you want something to happen : to request something

  • : to invite (someone) to go somewhere or do something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ask


play \ˈas(k)t, ˈäs(k)t, ˈask; dial ˈakst\


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to call on for an answer <she asked him about his trip> b :  to put a question about <asking her whereabouts> c :  speak, utter <ask a question>

  3. 2 a :  to make a request of <she asked her teacher for help> b :  to make a request for <she asked help from her teacher>

  4. 3 :  to call for :  require <a challenge that will ask much of us>

  5. 4 :  to set as a price <asked $3000 for the car>

  6. 5 :  invite

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to seek information

  9. 2 :  to make a request <asked for food>

  10. 3 :  look —often used in the phrase ask for trouble



Examples of ask in a sentence

  1. I need to ask a question.

  2. Did you ask her yet?

  3. Have you seen the movie yet? he asked.

  4. a list of frequently asked questions

  5. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? I'm 35 years old. Why do you ask?

  6. Do they have any soda? I don't know. I'll go ask.

  7. I would have given it to him, but he never asked.

  8. We had to stop and ask directions.

  9. May I ask the time?

  10. Did you ask permission to leave?

Origin and Etymology of ask

Middle English, from Old English āscian; akin to Old High German eiscōn to ask, Lithuanian ieškoti to seek, Sanskrit icchati he seeks

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of ask

ask, question, interrogate, query, inquire mean to address a person in order to gain information. ask implies no more than the putting of a question <ask for directions>. question usually suggests the asking of series of questions <questioned them about every detail of the trip>. interrogate suggests formal or official systematic questioning <the prosecutor interrogated the witness all day>. query implies a desire for authoritative information or confirmation <queried a librarian about the book>. inquire implies a searching for facts or for truth often specifically by asking questions <began to inquire of friends and teachers what career she should pursue>.ask, request, solicit mean to seek to obtain by making one's wants known. ask implies no more than the statement of the desire <ask a favor of a friend>. request implies greater formality and courtesy <requests the pleasure of your company>. solicit suggests a calling attention to one's wants or desires by public announcement or advertisement <a letter soliciting information>.

ASK Defined for Kids


verb \ˈask\

Definition of ask for Students



  1. 1 :  to seek information by posing a question <She asked if I was worried.> <They asked about our trip.>

  2. 2 :  to make a request <Did you ask for help?>

  3. 3 :  to set as a price <I'm asking ten dollars for my skates.>

  4. 4 :  invite 2 <I asked some friends to my party.>

  5. 5 :  to behave as if seeking a result <You're asking for trouble.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ask? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a very small amount

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which is the correct spelling?

acommodate acommadate accomodate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.