ash

noun (1)
\ ˈash How to pronounce ash (audio) \

Definition of ash

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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\

ash

noun (2), often attributive

Definition of ash (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something that symbolizes grief, repentance, or humiliation
2a : 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 flame— Lord Byron
5 ashes plural : ruins

ash

verb
ashed; ashing; ashes

Definition of ash (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Illustration of ash

Illustration of ash

Noun (1)

1ash 1

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from ash

Noun (2)

ashless \ ˈash-​ləs How to pronounce ash (audio) \ adjective

First Known Use of ash

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

History and Etymology for ash

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

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Time Traveler for ash

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Ash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ash. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for ash

ash

noun
\ ˈash How to pronounce ash (audio) \

Kids Definition of ash

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tree that has winged seeds, bark with grooves, and hard strong wood

ash

noun

Kids Definition of ash (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the solid matter left when something is completely burned cigarette ashes Wind blew the ash left by our campfire.
2 ashes plural : the last remains of the dead human body

ash

noun, often attributive
\ ˈash How to pronounce ash (audio) \

Medical Definition of ash

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

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