to put a question to; inquire of:
I asked him but he didn’t answer.
to request information about:
to ask the way.
to try to get by using words; request:
to ask advice; to ask a favor.
to solicit from; request of:
Could I ask you a favor? Ask her for advice.
to demand; expect:
What price are they asking? A little silence is all I ask.
to set a price of:
to ask $20 for the hat.
to call for; need; require:
This experiment asks patience.
to invite:
to ask guests to dinner.
Archaic. to publish (banns).
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.
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.
Historical Examples

It was a common question with no meaning to the asker, but of how much to Tara!
Tara Philip Meadows Taylor

If the asker’s needs were greater than his own he divided with him the little which he had.
William Lloyd Garrison Archibald H. Grimke

This latter question, we believe, is frequently the outcome of carelessness or laziness on the part of the asker.
The Sea Shore William S. Furneaux

No one refuses the asker anything that he possesses; on the contrary, they themselves invite us to ask for it.
Great Epochs in American History, Volume I. Various

Questions as to the value of money and power were almost invariably brushed aside, or pressed at extreme risk to the asker.
Monday or Tuesday Virginia Woolf

(often foll by about) to put a question (to); request an answer (from): she asked (him) about God
(transitive) to inquire about: she asked him the time of the train, she asked the way
(transitive) to direct or put (a question)
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) often foll by for. to make a request or demand: she asked (him) for information, they asked for a deposit
(transitive) to demand or expect (esp in the phrases ask a lot of, ask too much of)
(transitive) Also ask out, ask over. to request (a person) politely to come or go to a place; invite: he asked her to the party
(transitive) to need; require: the job asks both time and patience
(transitive) (archaic) to proclaim (marriage banns)
(Brit & Austral, NZ, informal) a big ask, a tough ask, a task which is difficult to fulfil
(Norse myth) the first man, created by the gods from an ash tree

Old English ascian “ask, call for an answer; make a request,” from earlier ahsian, from Proto-Germanic *aiskojan (cf. Old Saxon escon, Old Frisian askia “request, demand, ask,” Middle Dutch eiscen, Dutch eisen “to ask, demand,” Old High German eiscon “to ask (a question),” German heischen “to ask, demand”), from PIE *ais- “to wish, desire” (cf. Sanskrit icchati “seeks, desires,” Armenian aic “investigation,” Old Church Slavonic iskati “to seek,” Lithuanian ieškau “to seek”).

Form in English influenced by a Scandinavian form of the word (cf. Danish æske; the Old English would have evolved by normal sound changes into ash, esh, which was a Midlands and s.w. England dialect form). Modern dialectal ax is as old as Old English acsian and was an accepted literary variant until c.1600. Related: Asked; asking. Old English also had fregnan/frignan which carried more directly the sense of “question, inquire,” and is from PIE root *prek-, the common source of words for “ask” in most Indo-European languages (see pray). If you ask me “in my opinion” is attested from 1910. Asking price is attested from 1755.

ask a stupid question and you’ll get a stupid answer
ask for
ask for the moon
ask out

, see

don’t ask
for the asking


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