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 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.
to try to obtain by requesting: he asked for help
(intransitive) (informal) to behave in a provocative manner that is regarded as inviting (trouble): she’s asking for trouble, you’re asking for it
(Scot) to ask after: tell your parents I’m asking for them
(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.
Also, ask for it. To persist in an action despite the likelihood that it will bring trouble on oneself, as in Speeding as much as he does, he has been asking for a ticket and Mary deserved that low grade; in effect, she asked for it by not studying. [ c. 1900 ]
Also see: ask for the moon
ask a stupid question and you’ll get a stupid answer
ask for the moon
for the asking
- Ask for it
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: […]
- 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 […]
- Ask me another
ask me another sentence Used to indicate that one does not know the answer to a question: Am I ready? Ask me another. I am not in a position to say (1910+)
- Ask out
Invite someone to something, such as dinner, the theater, or a date. For example, We’ve been asked out to dinner twice this week, or Mary felt shy about asking John out. [ Late 1800s ] Historical Examples I ask out of politeness, dear; I don’t really care in the least how your ankle is! Arundel […]