ask

verb
\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) , ˈäsk; dialectal ˈaks\
asked\ ˈas(k)t How to pronounce asked (audio) , ˈäs(k)t , ˈask ; dialectal  ˈakst \; asking

Definition of ask

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to call on for an answer She asked him about his trip.
b : to put a question about asking her opinion
c : speak, utter ask a question
2a : to make a request of She asked her teacher for help.
b : to make a request for She asked help from her teacher.
3 : to call for : require a challenge that will ask much of us
4 : to set as a price asked $3000 for the car
5 : invite She asked a few friends to the party.

intransitive verb

1 : to seek information ask for her address
2 : to make a request asked for food
ask for it
informal
: to behave in a way that invites punishment or retribution Experts used to think that battered women were "asking for it"—somehow masochistically provoking abuse from their men. Mercifully, that idea has now been discredited.— Michele Ingrassia
ask for trouble
informal
: to behave in a way that is likely to result in trouble … you are asking for trouble if you try to lift too much weight …— Douglas Jeffrey

ask

noun

Definition of ask (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British, informal
: something asked for, requested, or required of someone used especially in phrases like a big ask and a tough ask to say that what is being asked for or hoped for is difficult or unlikely It's a big ask, I think, demanding audiences recall a plot from two years ago, and while normally I don't mind a big ask … this particular ask utterly defeated me.— Deborah Ross

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Other Words from ask

Verb

asker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ask

Synonyms: Verb

catechize, grill, inquire (of), interrogate, query, question, quiz

Antonyms: Verb

answer, reply, respond

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Choose the Right Synonym for ask

Verb

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

Examples of ask in a Sentence

Verb

I need to ask a question. Did you ask her yet? “Have you seen the movie yet?” he asked. a list of frequently asked questions “If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?” “I'm 35 years old. Why do you ask?” “Do they have any soda?” “I don't know. I'll go ask.” I would have given it to him, but he never asked. We had to stop and ask directions. May I ask the time? Did you ask permission to leave?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

However, ask anyone (really anyone) who has ever set foot in a Sephora, and their eyes will light up at the mention of a little blush named Orgasm. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "Nars Is Releasing a New Orgasm Makeup Collection for the Iconic Shade’s 20th Anniversary," 9 Apr. 2019 CBS This Morning viewers are asking what happened to Norah O'Donnell after she was absent on the morning show. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'CBS This Morning' Viewers Are Wondering What Happened to Norah O'Donnell," 26 Mar. 2019 The Air Force is asking for 48 F-35As, down eight from 2019. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Asks for Nearly 380 Aircraft, But One Buy Is Raising Eyebrows," 13 Mar. 2019 Employers are asking employees to pay more money for health care What happened in West Virginia isn’t that different from what’s happening in companies across the country. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Is employer-sponsored insurance really a good deal for workers?," 7 Feb. 2019 Fans regularly asked her about her famous parents, actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. Tyler Kingkade, Town & Country, "How the College Admissions Scandal Is Different From the Other Ways Rich Parents Help Their Kids Get Into School," 13 Mar. 2019 If Chrome detects a credential has been stolen and published to the web, the Password Checkup popup will then ask you to change your password. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Google's Password Checkup plugin for Chrome can warn you if your password was stolen," 5 Feb. 2019 A month after Trump adviser Carter Page publicly asked then-Director James Comey for an interview to clear his name, the FBI obtained a warrant to wiretap him. Lee Smith, WSJ, "What if the FBI Had Probed Obama?," 23 Jan. 2019 Now Farrell and her cohorts are asking players at the highest level of the industry to do their part. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Climate Change Protests Disrupt London Fashion Week," 18 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Taking out the Steelers in the opener or the NFC South champion Saints on the road in Week 2 would be tough asks. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Cleveland Browns' 2018 NFL schedule: When will they break losing streak?," 19 Apr. 2018 From Mars rovers to undersea explorers, robotic arms are generally focused on the utilitarian ask of grabbing. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "This Soft Robotic Arm Is Built To Study the Ocean's Most Delicate Creatures," 3 Oct. 2018 Another item on your agenda in the months leading up to the big ask? Macaela Mackenzie, Marie Claire, "5 Things You Must Do Before Asking for a Raise," 6 Dec. 2018 Replacing Josh Adams and his 3,201 career rushing yards is a tough ask. Laken Litman, Indianapolis Star, "Best- and worst-case scenarios for Notre Dame football in 2018," 2 July 2018 Yes, this is a big ask, especially for anyone who hasn’t ripped apart a computer before. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How to Recover Your Data from a Dead Hard Drive," 17 Jan. 2019 In the case of Alia, cleaners have to ask clients to sign up — often a difficult ask depending on the relationship between employer and employee. Juliana Feliciano Reyes, The Seattle Times, "A new app gives paid time off to the ‘original gig workers’," 15 Jan. 2019 That might seem like an easy ask, but the situation puts Amazon on the horns of a dilemma inherent to its business model, which allows almost any seller to list items on the site. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Amazon Sold Books, Backpacks, and Toys Promoting Hate to Kids, Report Shows," 7 July 2018 But those asks, a lot of the time, have already happened. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Canadian Recording Academy CEO Allan Reid Talks Juno Awards, Gender Equality & Artists Speaking Out," 23 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ask.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ask

Verb

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ask

Verb

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

Noun

noun derivative of ask entry 1

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Statistics for ask

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for ask

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

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More Definitions for ask

ask

verb

English Language Learners 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

ask

verb
\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) \
asked; asking

Kids Definition of ask

1 : to seek information by posing a question She asked if I was worried. They asked about our trip.
2 : to make a request Did you ask for help?
3 : to set as a price I'm asking ten dollars for my skates.
4 : invite sense 2 I asked some friends to my party.
5 : to behave as if seeking a result You're asking for trouble.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ask

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ask

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ask

Spanish Central: Translation of ask

Nglish: Translation of ask for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ask for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ask

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