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

Earlier this morning, while greeting the parents of a group of children, Prince Harry asked for some advice. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Clears the Room to Comfort 15-Year-Old Boy Who Lost His Dad," 1 Feb. 2019 Rihanna wore a piece from my collection and retailers started asking for more. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Jewelry Designer You Need to Know," 1 Feb. 2019 When 25% or more of extra-milers’ contacts start asking for more access to them, their quit rate soars to twice levels typical for managers in comparable jobs. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Downside of Carrying the Most Weight at Work," 29 Jan. 2019 Instead of information about the planet's changing geophysical status, users can find letters to creditors asking for leniency for NOAA employees falling behind on payments. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Government Shutdown Is Messing with North," 15 Jan. 2019 By keeping celebrities’ embarrassing secrets, the company was able to ingratiate itself with them and ask for favors in return. Alex Finley - Center For Public Integrity, Vox, "Trump got the National Enquirer to bury his secrets. Did he do the same with Putin?," 21 Dec. 2018 Niantic has also asked for pitch videos of up to five minutes in length from each interested developer, which somewhat resembles a reality-TV contest. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Pokémon Go creators launch AR-game contest that (nearly) resembles American Idol," 21 Dec. 2018 After the couple arrived back in New York City, Kevin asked Zoe to move in with him by offering her a key chain featuring a photo of John Stamos from the '80s — a gift his nieces gave him. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "John Stamos Reacts to 'This Is Us' Name Drop and His Response Is Wonderful," 16 Jan. 2019 Betty asks for an intro and Ethel tells her that’s Sister Woodhouse’s job. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Recap Season 3 Episode 7: Why Has No One Noticed Betty Is Missing?," 6 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

7 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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