ask for the moon

Make an unreasonable demand, request the unattainable, as in $1,000 for her birthday? Mary might as well be asking for the moon. This hyperbolic idiom appeared in the mid-1800s in slightly different form. Charles Dickens had it as cry for the moon (in Bleak House, 1852) and William Makepeace Thackeray as wish for the moon (in Lovell the Widower, 1860). Today ask is the most common version.

Nearby words

  1. asir,
  2. ask,
  3. ask a stupid question and you'll get a stupid answer,
  4. ask after,
  5. ask for,
  6. ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,
  7. ask out,
  8. ask, and it shall be given you,
  9. ask-upmark kidney,
  10. askance

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