v. asked, ask·ing, asks
1. To put a question to: When we realized that we didn't know the answer, we asked the teacher.
2. To seek an answer to: ask a question.
3. To seek information about: asked directions.
a. To make a request of: asked me for a loan.
b. To make a request for. Often used with an infinitive or clause: ask a favor of a friend; asked to go along on the trip; asked that he be allowed to stay out late.
5. To require or call for as a price or condition: asked ten dollars for the book.
6. To expect or demand: ask too much of a child.
7. To invite: asked them to dinner.
8. Archaic To publish, as marriage banns.
1. To make inquiry; seek information.
2. To make a request: asked for help.
n. pl. asksPhrasal Verb:
1. The act of making a request: “He was contacted by the mayor's fund-raiser ... a day after the mayor made the ask” (Jennifer Fermino).
2. Something that is requested: “Being funny on demand is a big ask” (Anne Curzan).
To invite (someone) to a social engagement.
ask for it (or trouble) Informal
To persist in an action despite the likelihood that it will result in difficulty or punishment.
[Middle English asken, from Old English ācsian, āscian; see ais- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: ask, question, inquire, query, interrogate, examine, quiz
These verbs mean to seek to gain or elicit information from another: Ask is the most neutral term: We asked the police officer for directions. The coach asked me what was wrong. Question implies careful or methodical asking: The prosecutor questioned the witness on several key points. Inquire often suggests a polite or formal request: We inquired whether the hotel had laundry service. The chairman inquired how best to secure the information. Query usually suggests settling a doubt: The proofreader queried the author on the spelling of a name. Interrogate applies especially to official and often aggressive questioning: The detectives interrogated the suspects for several hours. Examine refers particularly to close and detailed questioning to ascertain a person's knowledge or qualifications: The committee examined each candidate separately. Quiz denotes the informal examination of students: The teacher quizzed the pupils on the multiplication table.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.