ash

1 of 3

noun (1)

1
: any of a genus (Fraxinus) of trees of the olive family with pinnate leaves, thin furrowed bark, and gray branchlets
2
: the tough elastic wood of an ash
3
[Old English æsc, name of the corresponding runic letter] : the ligature æ used in Old English and some phonetic alphabets to represent a low front vowel \a\

Illustration of ash

Illustration of ash
  • 1ash 1

ash

2 of 3

noun (2)

often attributive
1
: something that symbolizes grief, repentance, or humiliation
2
a
: the solid residue left when combustible material is thoroughly burned or is oxidized by chemical means
b
: fine particles of mineral matter from a volcanic vent
3
ashes plural : the remains of the dead human body after cremation or disintegration
4
ashes plural : deathly pallor
the lip of ashes and the cheek of flameLord Byron
5
ashes plural : ruins
ashless adjective

ash

3 of 3

verb

ashed; ashing; ashes

transitive verb

1
technical : to convert into ash
The insoluble resid fractions are ashed at 800° C to constant weight.Joseph Haggin
2
: to remove ash residue from (something, such as a cigarette) usually by flicking or tapping
She ashed her cigarette onto a patch of dirt floor, then handed it to me.Dominic Smith
3
: to apply ash to : to coat with ashes
The rules that once governed the way the game was played had been burnt to the ground, and the earth was salted and ashed for good measure.Ani Bundel
It's a cow's milk soft cheese that's ashed on the outside. (It's kind of like a goth brie.)Erin Edwards

Examples of ash in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Fissure eruptions on land, such as the current one, produce little ash and usually wreak no havoc on air travel. TIME, 8 Feb. 2024 Over more than 100 days, Palestinians in Gaza have seen mass displacement, neighborhoods turned to ash and rubble, entire families erased by war, a surge in deadly disease and the medical system wrecked by bombardment. Sana Noor Haq, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 The stained Japanese ash cabinets custom-cut to surround the triangular windows supply proper storage, and the circular nature of the room provides even flow. Andrea Darr, Kansas City Star, 30 Jan. 2024 By the end of it, Friedel’s face was covered with ash. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 14 Jan. 2024 Biochar contains mineral ash, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and fixed carbon that can be used as a soil additive that increases water retention. Ashley Miznazi, Miami Herald, 3 Jan. 2024 In 2010, volcano Eyjafjallajokull in the southern part of the country released a vast plume of ash grounding air traffic across Europe for weeks. Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir, Fortune Europe, 19 Dec. 2023 Recorded with producer De Stevens at Roundhead Studios and mastered by Jonathan Pearce of the Beths, Spiel blows up the band’s deadpan vocals and raw guitar so that the tiny fragments that remain rain down like ash—unnerving and pretty simultaneously—like Truth Club covering Wednesday. Madison Bloom, Pitchfork, 26 Jan. 2024 And, in a turn of luck, the latest eruption is not predicted to spread ash into the air—unlike the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, which launched massive ash plumes into the atmosphere, disrupting air travel across Europe. Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Jan. 2024
Verb
Elsewhere in the Kardashian multiverse, Kylie Jenner and Timothée Chalamet went public with their relationship, kissing and cuddling in the VIP section with Chalamet ashing cigarettes into the crowd … have some more respect for both the artistry and Diana Ross’s lungs. Vulture, 5 Sep. 2023 For charcoal, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute the coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. Christopher Kimball, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Aug. 2023 Many of the people being called on to help played similar roles in the aftermath of the Camp fire, the 2018 disaster in Northern California that killed 85 people and reduced to ash the town of Paradise, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Tim Arango, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2023 Kahele, who moved to Alaska in 2009 from Oahu, said she was devastated by the stories of the fire, which has reduced entire neighborhoods in historic Lahaina to ash this week. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Aug. 2023 The pandemic has had many people adopting pets and spending money on them ash the search for extra companionship at home. Dallas News, 19 May 2021 Plus, its new Timberline grease-and-keg system automatically vacuums ash into a bucket, for less cleanup and more cooking. Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 22 Nov. 2022 The more typical scenario of volcanic activity is a prolonged eruption that deposits ash over weeks, according to joint research from Oxford, Bristol and East Anglia universities and the British Geological Survey. Stephen Wright, WSJ, 26 Jan. 2022 Other ways to reuse the tree include: Burning the wood to ash your garden. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 27 Dec. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ash.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English asshe, from Old English æsc; akin to Old High German ask ash, Latin ornus mountain ash

Noun (2)

Middle English, usually as plural asshen, askes, axen, ashes, going back to Old English axe, asce (feminine weak noun), going back to Germanic *askōn- (whence also Old Saxon asc-, in ascal "ash-colored," Old High German asca, ascha "ash," Old Norse aska) beside apparent *azgō in Gothic azgo "ash," both of uncertain origin

Note: The older handbooks see the Germanic etymon as a "root extension" of a verbal base *ā̌s- "burn," in current laryngealist terms *h1eh2s-,*h2h̥1s- "make dry through heat" ("[durch Hitze] vertrocknen" in Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben)—see etymology and note at arid. The discrepancy between West and North Germanic ask- (from *azg-?) and Gothic azg- (from *azgh-?) is variously explained. E. Seebold (Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache, 22. Auflage) regards the velar extension as a suffix of appurtenance, the ashes being in effect "what belongs to the hearth/fire." (Also of relevance would be Armenian azazim "become dry, wither," if from *h2h̥1s-gh- —see H. Martirosyan, Etymologial Dictionary of the Armenian Inherited Lexicon, Brill, 2010 s.v.) Seebold sees the "ash" words with long vowels (Hittite ḫāšš- "ashes, dust," Sanskrit ā́saḥ) as parallel derivations, in this case by the employment of lengthened grade. The inconvenient Gothic word azgo is explained as the outcome of a suffixed verbal derivative *haz-d-ko- (on the verbal derivative see azalea). Departing completely from the root-extension hypotheses, G. Kroonen (Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Brill, 2013) sees the Germanic word as a possible compound of Indo-European *h2ed- "dry up" and *dhegwh- "burn."

Verb

derivative of ash entry 2

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of ash was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ash

Cite this Entry

“Ash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ash. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

ash

1 of 2 noun
1
: any of a genus of trees related to the olive and having bark with grooves and ridges and winged seeds
2
: the hard strong wood of an ash

ash

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: the solid that remains after material is thoroughly burned or is oxidized by chemical means
b
: fine particles of mineral matter from a volcanic vent
2
plural : the remains of something destroyed : ruins
3
plural : the remains of the dead human body especially after cremation
Etymology

Noun

Old English æsc "ash tree"

Noun

Old English asce "the remains of something burned"

Medical Definition

ash

noun
often attributive
1
: the solid residue left when combustible material is thoroughly burned or is oxidized by chemical means
2
ashes plural : the remains of the dead human body after cremation or disintegration

More from Merriam-Webster on ash

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