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ask definition

Overview

This page has 26 definitions of ask with English translations in 6 languages. Ask is a verb and noun. Examples of how to use ask in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Ask, ASK, and aşk

English ask definition

Alternative forms

  • aks, ax (standard until about 1600, now dialectal and no longer standard)

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English asken (also esken, aschen, eschen, etc.), from Old English āscian, from Proto-West Germanic *aiskōn, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eys- (to wish; request). Compare German heischen, Dutch eisen.

Verb

ask (third-person singular simple present asks, present participle asking, simple past and past participle asked)

  1. (transitive or ditransitive) To request (information, or an answer to a question).
    I asked her age.
    I asked her (for) her age.
  2. To put forward (a question) to be answered.
    to ask a question
  3. To interrogate or enquire of (a person).
    I'm going to ask this lady for directions.
  4. To request or petition; usually with for.
    to ask for a second helping at dinner
    to ask for help with homework
    Emma asked Jim to close his eyes.
  5. To request permission to do something.
    She asked to see the doctor.
    Did you ask to use the car?
  6. To require, demand, claim, or expect, whether by way of remuneration or return, or as a matter of necessity.
    What price are you asking for the house?
    • 1705, J[oseph] Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c. in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 1051505315:
      But in any Exigence of State, like that they are now pressed with, it certainly asks a much longer time to conduct any Design, for the Good of the Common-wealth, to its Maturity and Perfection.
  7. To invite.
    Don't ask them to the wedding.
  8. To publish in church for marriage; said of both the banns and the persons.
  9. (figuratively) To take (a person's situation) as an example.
    • 1990 April 26, Paul Wiseman, “Dark days”, in USA Today:
      Even when the damage isn't that clear cut, the intangible burdens of a bad image can add up. Just ask Dow Chemical.
Usage notes
  • This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs
  • Pronouncing ask as /æks/ is a common example of metathesis (attested since the Old English period) and still common in some varieties of English, notably African American Vernacular English (AAVE).
  • The action expressed by the verb ask can also be expressed by the noun-verb combination pose a question.
  • In older forms of English, when the pronoun thou was in active use, and verbs used -est for distinct second-person singular indicative forms, the verb ask had the form askest, and had askedst for its past tense.
  • Similarly, when the ending -eth was in active use for third-person singular present indicative forms, the form asketh was used.
Hyponyms
Derived terms
Translations

Noun

ask (plural asks)

  1. An act or instance of asking.
    • 2005, Laura Fredricks, The ask:
      To ask for a gift is a privilege, a wonderful expression of commitment to and ownership of the organization. Getting a yes to an ask can be a rush, but asking for the gift can and should be just as rewarding.
  2. Something asked or asked for.
    Synonym: request
    I know this is a big ask, but …
    • 2008, Doug Fields, Duffy Robbins, Speaking to Teenagers:
      Communication researchers call this the foot-in-the-door syndrome. Essentially it's based on the observation that people who respond positively to a small “ask” are more likely to respond to a bigger “ask” later on.
  3. An asking price.
  4. (Internet) A message sent to a blog on social networking platform Tumblr, which can be publicly posted and replied to by the recipient.
    • 2017, Abigail Oakley, "Supporting one another: Nonbinary community building on Tumblr", in Sex in the Digital Age (eds. Isabel K. Düsterhöft & Paul G. Nixon), unnumbered page:
      Answering 'asks' like this is one common way that Tumblr bloggers interact with their followers, so it is in the act of publicly answering these asks that I examine community building practices.
    • 2018, Lynette Kvasny & Fay Cobb Payton, "African American Youth Tumbling Toward Mental Health Support-Seeking and Positive Academic Outcomes", in Diversifying Digital Learning: Online Literacy and Educational Opportunity (eds. Amanda Ochsner, William G. Tierney, & Zoë B. Corwin), page 168:
      The following example from Black Mental Health illustrates an ask from an anonymous follower seeking social support: []
    • 2020, Lee Brown, "Behind the Scenes of a Popular Trans Youth Resources Tumblr", in A Tumblr Book: Platforms and Cultures (eds. Alexander Cho, Allison McCracken, Indira N. Hoch, & Louisa Stein), page 265:
      Once the number of unanswered Asks in the inbox was over eight thousand, despite us deleting everything accumulated in the inbox once a year.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:ask.

Derived terms

Etymology 2

From Middle English aske, arske, ascre, from Old English āþexe (lizard, newt), from Proto-West Germanic *agiþahsijā (lizard), a compound of *agiz (snake, lizard) + *þahsuz (badger). Cognate of German Echse (lizard).

Alternative forms

Noun

ask (plural asks)

  1. (UK dialectal and Scotland) An eft; newt.
    • 1876, S. Smiles, Scottish Naturalist:
      He looked at the beast. It was not an eel. It was very like an ask.
  2. (UK dialectal) A lizard.
    • 1951, Malcolm Arthur Smith, The British Amphibians & Reptiles (page 258)
      We hear of Adder dens, but detailed accounts of the discovery of one are very rare. Service (1902) records that a peatman, when levelling on an estate by the Solway, found in a hole in the ground, some 8 inches below the surface, 40 adders, 10 toads and a large number of asks (lizards).

Anagrams


Danish ask definition

Etymology

From Old Norse askr, from Proto-Germanic *askaz.

Pronunciation

Noun

ask c (singular definite asken, plural indefinite aske)

  1. common ash (tree, Fraxinus excelsior)

Declension

References


Faroese ask definition

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Old Norse askr, from Proto-Germanic *askaz, *askiz.

Pronunciation

Noun

ask f (genitive singular askar, plural askir)

  1. ash tree
  2. ash wood

Declension

Declension of ask
f2 singular plural
indefinite definite indefinite definite
nominative ask askin askir askirnar
accusative ask askina askir askirnar
dative ask askini askum askunum
genitive askar askarinnar aska askanna

Icelandic ask definition

Noun

ask

  1. indefinite accusative singular of askur

Norwegian Bokmål ask definition

Etymology

From Old Norse askr, from Proto-Germanic *askaz.

Noun

ask m (definite singular asken, indefinite plural asker, definite plural askene)

  1. the European ash (ash tree) Fraxinus excelsior

References


Norwegian Nynorsk ask definition

Etymology

From Old Norse askr, from Proto-Germanic *askaz. Akin to English ash.

Pronunciation

Noun

ask m (definite singular asken, indefinite plural askar, definite plural askane)

  1. the European ash (ash tree) Fraxinus excelsior

References


Old Norse ask definition

Noun

ask

  1. accusative singular of askr

Old Saxon ask definition

Etymology

From Proto-West Germanic *ask.

Pronunciation

Noun

ask m

  1. ash tree
  2. spear

Declension


Descendants

  • Middle Low German: esk

Swedish ask definition

Etymology

From Old Swedish asker, from Old Norse askr, from Proto-Germanic *askaz, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ōs- (ash).

Pronunciation

Noun

ask c

  1. the European ash (tree) Fraxinus excelsior
  2. a small box
    Synonyms: låda, skrin

Declension

Declension of ask 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative ask asken askar askarna
Genitive asks askens askars askarnas

Descendants

Further reading

Anagrams