View synonyms for ask



[ ask, ahsk ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to put a question to; inquire of:

    I asked him but he didn't answer.

    Synonyms: interrogate, question

    Antonyms: answer

  2. to request information about:

    to ask the way.

  3. to try to get by using words; request:

    to ask advice; to ask a favor.

    Synonyms: appeal, sue

  4. to solicit from; request of:

    Could I ask you a favor? Ask her for advice.

    Synonyms: entreat, beg, beseech

  5. to demand; expect:

    What price are they asking? A little silence is all I ask.

  6. to set a price of:

    to ask $20 for the hat.

  7. to call for; need; require:

    This experiment asks patience.

  8. to invite:

    to ask guests to dinner.

  9. Archaic. to publish (banns).

verb (used without object)

  1. to make inquiry; inquire:

    to ask about a person.

    Antonyms: answer

  2. to request or petition (usually followed by for ):

    to ask for leniency; to ask for food.

    Synonyms: appeal, sue


  1. a question or inquiry.
  2. a request, especially a demanding one:

    Is it too big an ask for you to give me a loan?



[ ahsk ]


, Scandinavian Mythology.
  1. the first man, made by the gods from an ash tree.



/ ɑːsk /


  1. Norse myth the first man, created by the gods from an ash tree



/ ɑːsk /


  1. often foll by about to put a question (to); request an answer (from)

    she asked (him) about God

  2. tr to inquire about

    she asked him the time of the train

    she asked the way

  3. tr to direct or put (a question)
  4. may take a clause as object or an infinitiveoften foll byfor to make a request or demand

    they asked for a deposit

    she asked (him) for information

  5. tr to demand or expect (esp in the phrases ask a lot of, ask too much of )
  6. Alsoask outask over tr to request (a person) politely to come or go to a place; invite

    he asked her to the party

  7. tr to need; require

    the job asks both time and patience

  8. archaic.
    tr to proclaim (marriage banns)


  1. a big ask or a tough ask informal.
    a task which is difficult to fulfil
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Derived Forms

  • ˈasker, noun
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Other Words From

  • asker noun
  • un·asking adjective
  • un·asking·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of ask1

First recorded before 900; Middle English asken, axen, Old English āscian, āxian; cognate with Old Frisian āskia, Old Saxon ēscon, Old High German eiscōn ( German heischen ), Sanskrit icchati “(he) seeks”

Origin of ask2

< Old Norse Askr; ash 2
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Word History and Origins

Origin of ask1

Old English āscian; related to Old Frisian āskia, Old Saxon ēscon, Old High German eiscōn
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. ask for it, to risk or invite trouble, danger, punishment, etc., by persisting in some action or manner:

    He was asking for it by his abusive remarks.

More idioms and phrases containing ask

  • don't ask
  • for the asking
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Synonym Study

See inquire.
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Example Sentences

As a best practice, position your ask as something that will benefit their readers.

This ask comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly “softening” to the idea of including stimulus checks in the next package, Politico reported Tuesday.

From Fortune

It seems that isn't an unreasonable ask, but she should own her preference rather than try to pretend that she is just trying to protect the sister-in-law.

“Little did I know how big of an ask it was but, if you want to be at the center of God’s will, you have to be submissive and you have to put yourself out there and I’m so glad I did,” she said.

It’s a tough ask — especially when your team goes from regulation-sized to spanning the globe.

If ISIS “came into a base and killed hundreds of troops, then people would ask a lot more questions.”

And I need to ask why their truth makes me so defensive, as if my truth is the only truth.

One is forced to ask, what on earth was Andrew doing hanging out with scantily clad teenagers?

“You ask me my motivation,” Marvin says, moving back into his tough guy persona again.

I ask Atefeh and Monir if they see dancing as a form of income in the future, a potential career.

"There's just one thing I'd like to ask, if you don't mind," said Cynthia, coming suddenly out of a brown study.

That it is a reasonable and proper thing to ask our statesmen and politicians: what is going to happen to the world?

I ask for half a dozen projectors or so in every school, and for a well-stocked storehouse of films.

For it is better that thy children should ask of thee, than that thou look toward the hands of thy children.

Finally, let me ask the general reader to put aside all prejudice, and give both sides a fair hearing.


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More About Ask

What is a basic definition of ask?

Ask is a verb that means to present a question to someone, to request something, or to invite someone. Ask has several other senses as a verb and a noun.

If you are asking someone something, you usually want answers from them. When asking about something, you might pose several questions or politely request information about something.

  • Real-life examples: Students ask teachers questions about things that confuse them. If you forget your watch, you might ask someone what time it is. You might need to ask a store employee where the bathroom is.
  • Used in a sentence: We asked the teacher which chapters would be on the test. 

Ask can also mean to make a request for something. In this sense, it is often used in the phase “to ask for.”

  • Real-life examples: Children ask Santa Claus for presents at Christmas. Your mom asks you to clean your room. When you love someone, you might ask them to marry you.
  • Used in a sentence: I asked Bill if I could borrow his shovel.  

Ask also means to invite someone to do something or go somewhere.

  • Real-life examples: You can ask your friends over for a party. Your grandparents might ask you to come and visit.
  • Used in a sentence: Jin asked Maria out for a date on Saturday.

Where does ask come from?

The first records of ask come from before the 900s. It ultimately comes from the Old English verb āscian or āxian. It is related to older words, such as the Old Frisian āskia and the Sanskrit icchati (“to seek”).

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to ask?

  • asker (noun)
  • unasking (adjective)
  • unaskingly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for ask?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ask

What are some words that often get used in discussing ask?

How is ask used in real life?

Ask is an extremely common word that most often means to pose a question to someone.



Try using ask!

Is ask used correctly in the following sentence?

She didn’t want to answer me when I asked her who ate the last slice of pizza.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




A sizesask after