[ ask, ahsk ]
/ æsk, ɑsk /
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verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
to make inquiry; inquire: to ask about a person.
to request or petition (usually followed by for): to ask for leniency; to ask for food.
a question or inquiry.
a request, especially a demanding one: Is it too big an ask for you to give me a loan?
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Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Idioms about ask

    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.

Origin of ask

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”

synonym study for ask

10. See inquire.


asker, nounun·ask·ing, adjectiveun·ask·ing·ly, adverb

Other definitions for ask (2 of 2)

[ ahsk ]
/ ɑsk /

noun Scandinavian Mythology.
the first man, made by the gods from an ash tree.
Compare Embla.

Origin of Ask

<Old Norse Askr;see ash2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


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”).

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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.

How to use ask in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ask (1 of 2)

/ (ɑːsk) /

a big ask or a tough ask British, Australian and NZ informal a task which is difficult to fulfil
See also ask after, ask for

Derived forms of ask

asker, noun

Word Origin for ask

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

British Dictionary definitions for ask (2 of 2)

/ (ɑːsk) /

Norse myth the first man, created by the gods from an ash tree
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with ask


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