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 ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus