1 [reporting verb] say something in order to obtain an answer or some information: [with object and clause]:I asked her what she meant [with object]:people are always asking questions [with direct speech]:‘How much further?’ I asked [no object]:the old man asked about her job
[no object] (ask around) talk to different people in order to find out something:there are fine meals to be had if you ask around
[no object] (ask after or Scottish for) British enquire about the health or well-being of:if I see him I’ll tell him you were asking after him
2 [with object] say to (someone) that one wants them to do or give something:Mary asked her father for money [with object and infinitive]:I asked him to call the manager [no object]:don’t be afraid to ask for advice
[with clause] say that one wants permission to do something:she asked if she could move in [with infinitive]:he asked to see the officer involved [with object]:you should have asked my permission first
[no object] (ask for) say that one wants to speak to:when I arrived I asked for Katrina
say that one wants (a specified amount) as a price for selling something:he was asking £250 for the guitar
expect or demand (something) of someone:it’s asking a lot, but could you look through Billy’s things?
3 [with object] invite (someone) to one’s home or a function:it’s about time we asked Pam to dinnershe asked him round for a drink
(ask someone along) invite someone to join one on a group outing:do you want to ask him along?
(ask someone out) invite someone out on a date:a few boys asked her out but never the right ones
1US the price at which an item, especially a financial security, is offered for sale: [as modifier]:ask prices for bonds
2 [with adjective] informal a demand or situation that requires a specified degree of effort or commitment:it is a big ask for him to go and play 90 minutesit was a tough ask, but they delivered
ask me another
informal used to indicate that one does not know the answer to a question:‘What do they quarrel about?’ queried Ruth. ‘Ask me another!’
be asking for trouble (or it)
informal behave in a way that is likely to result in difficulty for oneself:it would simply be asking for trouble for me to spend the night here
don't ask me!
informal used to indicate that one has no idea of the answer to a question:‘Is he her boyfriend then?’ ‘Don’t ask me!’
for the asking
used to indicate that someone can easily have something if they want it:the job was his for the asking
I ask you!
informal an exclamation of shock or disapproval intended to elicit agreement from one’s listener:ringing me up on Christmas Day, I ask you!
if you ask me
informal used to emphasize that a statement is one’s personal opinion:if you ask me, it’s just an excuse for laziness
Old Englishāscian, āhsian, āxian, of West Germanic origin