the powdery residue of matter that remains after burning.
Also called volcanic ash. Geology. finely pulverized lava thrown out by a volcano in eruption.
a light, silvery-gray color.

deathlike grayness; extreme pallor suggestive of death.
ruins, especially the residue of something destroyed; remains; vestiges:
the ashes of their love; the ashes of the past.
mortal remains, especially the physical or corporeal body as liable to decay.
anything, as an act, gesture, speech, or feeling, that is symbolic of penance, regret, remorse, or the like.

any of various trees of the genus Fraxinus, of the olive family, especially F. excelsior, of Europe and Asia, or F. americana (white ash) of North America, having opposite, pinnate leaves and purplish flowers in small clusters.
the tough, straight-grained wood of any of these trees, valued as timber.
Also, æsc. the symbol “æ.”.
Contemporary Examples

We drive past a small pond of foamy water where they dumped the ashes, to Gas Chamber and Crematorium II.
My Visit To Hell Christopher Buckley January 29, 2009

“At one point they were going to perform a burial ceremony with the ashes,” he says.
Rage Against the Ebola Crematorium Abby Haglage November 10, 2014

Butch and Leon casually flicked their ashes out of the windows.
John Grisham’s Debut Short Story John Grisham October 25, 2009

I particularly believed that from the ashes of the unrest we could work to sprout new hope for our community.
Wendy Greuel on L.A. Riots: ‘We Still Have a Long Way to Go’ Wendy Greuel April 26, 2012

She saw the spot where her sister and aunt had been shot, now a bed of ashes and burned bodies.
Life After Death: Teen Survivor of a Massacre Turns Tragedy into Art Abigail Pesta March 5, 2012

Historical Examples

From that day she was always speckled where the ashes fell upon her.
Fairy Tales from Brazil Elsie Spicer Eells

The Old Map knocked the ashes out of his pipe and went in to look at him.
Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower

They are somewhere in the house, and they’d be burned to ashes.
The Voice of the Pack Edison Marshall

He flicked the ashes from his cigar, nursing his knee with the other hand.
The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith

Thus did that remarkable family spend the small hours of that morning, while their home was being burned to ashes.
My Doggie and I R.M. Ballantyne

plural noun
ruins or remains, as after destruction or burning: the city was left in ashes
the remains of a human body after cremation
plural noun
the Ashes, a cremated cricket stump in a pottery urn now preserved at Lord’s. Victory or defeat in test matches between England and Australia is referred to as winning, losing, or retaining the Ashes
the nonvolatile products and residue formed when matter is burnt
any of certain compounds formed by burning See soda ash
fine particles of lava thrown out by an erupting volcano
a light silvery grey colour, often with a brownish tinge
any oleaceous tree of the genus Fraxinus, esp F. excelsior of Europe and Asia, having compound leaves, clusters of small greenish flowers, and winged seeds
the close-grained durable wood of any of these trees, used for tool handles, etc
any of several trees resembling the ash, such as the mountain ash
(Austral) any of several Australian trees resembling the ash, esp of the eucalyptus genus
the digraph æ, as in Old English, representing a front vowel approximately like that of the a in Modern English hat. The character is also used to represent this sound in the International Phonetic Alphabet
noun acronym (in Britain)
Action on Smoking and Health

“powdery remains of fire,” Old English æsce “ash,” from Proto-Germanic *askon (cf. Old Norse and Swedish aska, Old High German asca, German asche, Gothic azgo “ashes”), from PIE root *as- “to burn, glow” (cf. Sanskrit asah “ashes, dust,” Armenian azazem “I dry up,” Greek azein “to dry up, parch,” Latin ardus “parched, dry”). Spanish and Portuguese ascua “red-hot coal” are Germanic loan-words.

Symbol of grief or repentance; hence Ash Wednesday (c.1300), from custom introduced by Pope Gregory the Great of sprinkling ashes on the heads of penitents on the first day of Lent. Ashes meaning “mortal remains of a person” is late 13c., in reference to the ancient custom of cremation.

type of tree, Old English æsc “ash tree,” also “spear made of ash wood,” from Proto-Germanic *askaz, *askiz (cf. Old Norse askr, Old Saxon ask, Middle Dutch esce, German Esche), from PIE root *os- “ash tree” (cf. Armenian haci “ash tree,” Albanian ah “beech,” Greek oxya “beech,” Latin ornus “wild mountain ash,” Russian jasen, Lithuanian uosis “ash”). Ash was the preferred wood for spear-shafts, so Old English æsc sometimes meant “spear” (cf. æsc-here “company armed with spears”).

Related Terms

get one’s ashes hauled
American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services
Additional Sponsors House
Action on Smoking and Health
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Hypertension
asymmetric septal hypertrophy

The ashes of a red heifer burned entire (Num. 19:5) when sprinkled on the unclean made them ceremonially clean (Heb. 9:13). To cover the head with ashes was a token of self-abhorrence and humiliation (2 Sam. 13:19; Esther 4:3; Jer. 6:26, etc.). To feed on ashes (Isa. 44:20), means to seek that which will prove to be vain and unsatisfactory, and hence it denotes the unsatisfactory nature of idol-worship. (Comp. Hos. 12:1).

(Heb. o’ren, “tremulous”), mentioned only Isa. 44:14 (R.V., “fir tree”). It is rendered “pine tree” both in the LXX. and Vulgate versions. There is a tree called by the Arabs _aran_, found still in the valleys of Arabia Petraea, whose leaf resembles that of the mountain ash. This may be the tree meant. Our ash tree is not known in Syria.

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Disclaimer: Ashes definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.