ask

verb
\ ˈask , ˈäsk; dialectal ˈaks\
asked\ ˈas(k)t , 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

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 Evaluating potential advisers is a crucial step: Experts suggest asking potential advisers to run you through several possible scenarios. Kevin Mcallister, WSJ, "Sound Advice for Choosing a Financial Adviser," 17 Feb. 2019 Sanchez told the magazine that Lauren and Bezos first called him in January after the Enquirer asked the couple to comment on their affair. Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Jeff Bezos Considered Buying the National Enquirer's Parent Company After Photo Leak," 14 Feb. 2019 Light- or short-coated dogs can get sunburned, so ask your vet for recommendations on canine sunscreen because some human sunscreens are toxic if your pet licks them off. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Hiking With Your Dog," 12 Feb. 2019 Nvidia’s answer is to shrug and suggest asking the companies that made the misbehaving monitor. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Here's what happens when using a GeForce GPU with a non-validated FreeSync monitor gets ugly," 9 Jan. 2019 Researchers, companies, and the general public have all begun to grapple more with the limitations of AI and its adverse effects, asking important questions like: how is this technology being used, and for whose benefit? James Vincent, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: AI," 30 Dec. 2018 The actual participants were informed that the fictional ones had only been asked to consider a position—rather than choosing that position, it had been assigned to the fictional subjects at random. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "People adopt made-up social rules to be part of a group," 28 Dec. 2018 Position zero is helpful, depending on how the question is asked. Eric Johnson, Recode, "What’s next for virtual assistants like Alexa? Maybe buying stuff for you automatically.," 24 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Using up two of them is a big ask, but that’s the trade-off for going wireless. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Roku TV Wireless Speakers review: easy listening," 29 Nov. 2018 The charming residence, built in 1927, was purchased for $7.4 million, according to the LA Times, just slightly above the $7.395 million ask. Bridget Mallon, ELLE Decor, "UPDATE: Katharine Hepburn's Former Love Nest Just Sold For $7.4 Million," 16 Sep. 2015 One key ask from the walkout organizers was for management to allow employees to be accompanied by a companion in meetings related to HR investigations involving harassment or discrimination. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "Google has responded to its employees’ demands about sexual misconduct. Here are the changes it will and won’t make.," 8 Nov. 2018 To be a royal princess sometimes, losing your anonymity, losing that freedom, that’s a big ask for any woman in today’s society. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Meghan Markle will struggle with royal life, warns Diana's butler: 'She should be careful what she wishes for'," 3 Aug. 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

21 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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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