Language: Old English
Origin: ascian


1 verb
ask1 S1 W1


[intransitive and transitive] to speak or write to someone in order to get an answer, information, or a solution:
'What's your name?' she asked.
Don't ask him - he won't know.
That kid's always asking awkward questions.
ask who/what/where etc
I asked him where he lived.
ask somebody something
We'll have to ask someone the way to the station.
ask somebody if/whether
Go and ask Tom whether he's coming tonight.
ask (somebody) about something
Visitors usually ask about the history of the castle.
ask around (=ask in a lot of places or ask a lot of people)
I'll ask around, see if I can find you a place to stay.

for help/advice etc

[intransitive and transitive] to make a request for help, advice, information etc:
If you need anything, you only have to ask.
ask somebody to do something
Ask John to mail those letters tomorrow.
ask to do something
Karen asked to see the doctor.
ask for
Some people find it difficult to ask for help.
ask somebody for something
He repeatedly asked Bailey for the report.
ask (somebody) if/whether you can do something
Ask your mom if you can come with us.
ask that
Was it too much to ask that he be allowed some privacy?


[transitive] to want a particular amount of money for something you are selling:
How much is he asking?
ask $50/$1,000 etc for something
He's asking £2,000 for his car.
They're asking a fortune for that house.


[transitive usually + adverb/preposition] to invite someone to your home, to go out with you etc
ask somebody to do something
Let's ask them to have dinner with us some time.
ask somebody out (=ask someone, especially someone of the opposite sex, to go to a film, a restaurant etc with you)
Jerry's too scared to ask her out.
ask somebody in (=invite someone into your house, office etc)
Don't leave them standing on the doorstep - ask them in!
ask somebody over/round (=invite someone to come to your home)
We must ask our new neighbours over for a drink.


[transitive] if you ask something of someone, you want them to do it for you:
It would be better if he cooperated, but perhaps I'm asking too much.
ask something of somebody
You have no right to ask anything of me.
Expecting the children to do an hour's homework after school is asking a lot of them.

be asking for trouble

to do something that is very likely to have a bad effect or result:
Saying that to a feminist is just asking for trouble.

ask yourself something

to think carefully and honestly about something:
You have to ask yourself where your responsibilities really lie.
8 spoken

if you ask me

used to emphasize your own opinion:
He's just plain crazy, if you ask me.
9 spoken

don't ask me

used to say you do not know the answer to something:
'Where's she gone then?' 'Don't ask me!'
10 spoken

don't ask

used to say that something is too embarrassing or strange to explain:
'What was that woman selling?' 'Don't ask.'
11 spoken

be asking for it

used to say that someone deserves something bad that happens to them:
It's his own fault he got hit - he was asking for it.

be somebody's for the asking

informal if something is yours for the asking, you can have it if you want it:
The job was hers for the asking.
request to officially ask for something
to ask someone for advice
to ask for something very forcefully
/pester to keep asking for something many times, in an annoying way
/plead to ask for something in an anxious or urgent way, because you want it very much
/interrogate to ask someone questions - used especially about the police or the army
informal to ask someone a lot of difficult questions
to ask someone questions in court - used about lawyers
to ask a lot of people for their opinion about something

ask after somebody

phrasal verb
if you ask after someone, you want to know whether they are well, what they are doing etc:
I spoke to James today. He was asking after you.

ask for somebody

phrasal verb
if you ask for someone, you want to speak to them:
There's someone at the door asking for Dad.

say, tell, give, ask
You use say when you are mentioning someone's exact words 'Hello,' she said. Someone said, 'Let's go!'Say can be followed by 'that' He said that he was tired. In speech people often leave out 'that' They said there had been a mistake.Say can be followed by 'something', 'anything', 'nothing', or 'so' Did you say something? Nobody dared to say anything. You have to come - Dad said so.It can also be followed by 'goodbye' or 'hello' I'll just go and say hello to David.Apart from these uses, say is not normally followed by an object. For example, it cannot be followed by 'a story', 'a lie', 'some information', or 'an answer'. You tell a story, a joke, a lie, or the truth They told a funny story about their trip. You give information, an order, an instruction, or an answer He gave no reply.!! You do not say a question. You ask a question Can I ask a question?You can say something to someone Has he said something to you?When talking about giving information, it is more usual to say that you tell someone something Clare told us something interesting (NOT said us something...). Can anyone tell me what time it is? (NOT say to me what...) You can tell someone about something Did you tell Lucy about the party? (NOT say to Lucy about...)You can say to do something, but it is more usual to tell someone to do something The teacher told us to open our books (NOT said us/said to us to...).See also say

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