\ ˈask How to pronounce ask (audio) , ˈäsk How to pronounce ask (audio) ; dialectal ˈaks \
asked\ ˈas(k)t How to pronounce ask (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
: 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
: 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



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

Other Words from ask


asker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ask

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The groups will now ask that the law, which was set to take effect next week, be permanently blocked. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 Sep. 2022 Things will become even more difficult if, as seems likely, worse-off European nations ask Germany for fuel. William A. Galston, WSJ, 20 Sep. 2022 Attorneys for Lewis’ parents could ask the full appeals court to reconsider the ruling. Fox News, 19 Sep. 2022 Instead, ask questions that might catch them a little off guard, like hypothetical scenarios or more ambiguous questions to test their reactions. Michael Peres, Rolling Stone, 19 Sep. 2022 If your attorney can show that the ex-husband is not paying child support and any other requirements from the court ruling, your daughter can ask for her ex to be forced to pay her attorney fees. Annie Lane, cleveland, 19 Sep. 2022 Bulson will ask the board at its meeting to consider two matters: setting aside school property or overruling the planning commission decision, according to agenda documents. Tony Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 19 Sep. 2022 If your attorney can show that the ex-husband is not paying child support and any other requirements from the court ruling, your daughter can ask for her ex to be forced to pay her attorney fees. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 19 Sep. 2022 Chat-line advisors will ask what happened, followed by a series of questions to determine the scope of the problem, and then provide a custom plan of action and steps to take. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the end, however, there were published reports that the Boehly bid was the only one of the three to meet a late ask from Abramovich for an estimated $500 million more on top of what were roughly equal bids. Michael Silverman,, 25 Aug. 2022 Shawn Gremminger, who until recently served as the director of policy for the Purchaser Business Group on Health, an influential coalition of some of the nation’s largest corporations, describes the requirements as a tough ask for employers. Erika Fry, Fortune, 4 May 2022 Given the tall ask, the buyouts offer a solution for dealers unable or unwilling to make the changes. Emily Dreibelbis, PCMAG, 6 Sep. 2022 That’s a big ask of the fair-weather fan who has been sitting on the fence until game week before deciding to make a purchase. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Aug. 2022 Purdue should be up to the ask to make this thing competitive. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 29 Aug. 2022 Charter flights for playoff teams doesn’t seem like a big ask in 2022. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 27 Aug. 2022 That’s a big ask of voters in a lower-profile race. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Aug. 2022 Citing four unnamed sources close to both the governor and Trump, no ask has been made, and there are no plans to. Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel, 22 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of ask


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


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ask


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


noun derivative of ask entry 1

Learn More About ask

Time Traveler for ask

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ask

as it is



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Last Updated

23 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ask.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for ask


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on ask

Nglish: Translation of ask for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ask for Arabic Speakers


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