asks; asked; asking
asks; asked; asking
Learner's definition of ASK
1 : to say or write something to someone as a way of gaining information : to request an answer to a question
— often + about — often + if or whether
I need to ask a question.
I need to ask you a question. = (less commonly) I need to ask a question of you.
Are there any questions you would like to ask (me)?
Did you ask her yet?
“Have you seen the movie yet?” he asked.
a list of frequently asked questions
— often + why, what, etc.
He asked (them) if they had seen the movie.
She asked (me) if I was worried.
They were asked whether they would like to buy the car.
You should ask (him) why he didn't come.
He always asks (her) what she thinks.
May I ask what time it is?
It's not polite to ask how much a person weighs.
— often + about
“If you don't mind me/my asking, how old are you?” “I'm 35 years old. Why do you ask?”
Please don't ask again.
“Do they have any soda?” “I don't know. I'll go ask.”
2 : to tell someone in the form of a question that you want to be given something or that you want something to happen : to request something
— often + for
If you want something to drink, just ask. [=just tell me that you want something to drink]
I would have given it to him, but he never asked.
Let's stop and ask for directions.
I'll have to ask for permission to leave.
She asked for their forgiveness/help.
She ate all of her food and asked for more.
His lawyers are asking for the case to be dismissed.
— often + for
We had to stop and ask directions.
May I ask the time?
Did you ask permission to leave?
She asked their forgiveness.
— often + if or whether — often + that — often followed by to + verb
We had to ask someone for directions.
I asked her for permission.
She asked them for their forgiveness.
She asked (for permission) to borrow her father's car for the day.
I asked (for permission) to leave work early.
You should ask your teacher to help you.
Unhappy with the service, he asked to see the manager.
He asked me to marry him.
I'm sorry, but I need to ask you to leave.
She asked me not to say anything about it to anyone.
I wanted to say something about it, but she asked me not to.
3 [+ object] : to invite (someone) to go somewhere or do something
◊ To ask someone out is to ask someone to go on a date with you.
4 a : to believe that you should receive (something) from someone — often + of
b : to set (a specific amount of money) as a price
The school asks much of its students. [=the school expects its students to do a lot]
He says that people ask too little of their politicians.
He was ready to go to war, should the government ask it of him. [=should the government ask him to go to war]
The dealer originally asked [=wanted] $20,000 for the car, but he sold it to me for $18,000.
They're asking [=charging] $100 or more per concert ticket.
ask after[phrasal verb]
ask after (someone or something)
: to ask about (someone or something)
ask around[phrasal verb]
: to ask many people to tell you information about someone or something
ask for[phrasal verb]
1 ask for (someone) : to request to see or talk to (someone)
Unhappy with the service, he asked for the store manager.
There's someone on the phone asking for you.
2 ask for itinformal : to behave in a way that makes someone want to hurt or punish you
You're asking for it, kid! If you keep misbehaving, you're going to get punished.
All right. You asked for it!
3 ask for troubleinformal : to behave in a way that is likely to result in trouble
— see also ask for the moon at 1moon
◊ To ask yourself something is to think about the true answer to a question.
Ask yourself what you would do in that situation.
Before buying an expensive item, he needs to ask himself if/whether he can afford it.
— used to say that something is too strange, embarrassing, or complicated to explain
don't ask meinformal
— used to say that you do not know the answer to a question
for the asking
◊ If something is yours for the asking, you can have it if you want it or ask for it.
I ask you
◊ People use the phrase I ask you before or after a question when they want someone to agree or sympathize with them.
(Now) I ask you, is that fair? [=I don't think it's fair; do you?]
Look at that hat! Who would wear such a thing, I ask you?
who asked you?informal + impolite
— used as a response when someone gives an opinion that is not wanted