• "'Can he do this?' Charlie asked."
    "'Can he do this?' Charlie asked."
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v ask make a request or demand for something to somebody "She asked him for a loan"
    • v ask consider obligatory; request and expect "We require our secretary to be on time","Aren't we asking too much of these children?","I expect my students to arrive in time for their lessons"
    • v ask inquire about "I asked about their special today","He had to ask directions several times"
    • v ask direct or put; seek an answer to "ask a question"
    • v ask address a question to and expect an answer from "Ask your teacher about trigonometry","The children asked me about their dead grandmother"
    • v ask require or ask for as a price or condition "He is asking $200 for the table","The kidnappers are asking a million dollars in return for the release of their hostage"
    • v ask require as useful, just, or proper "It takes nerve to do what she did","success usually requires hard work","This job asks a lot of patience and skill","This position demands a lot of personal sacrifice","This dinner calls for a spectacular dessert","This intervention does not postulate a patient's consent"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The neighbor's tabby cat asking for food The neighbor's tabby cat asking for food
Question, asking. Neapolitan Question, asking. Neapolitan
He asks folks to step into the stove He asks folks to step into the stove
The Undine queen asks Youri to stay The Undine queen asks Youri to stay

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The average four year-old child asks over four hundred questions a day
    • n Ask (Zoöl) A water newt.
    • Ask To interrogate or inquire of or concerning; to put a question to or about; to question. "He is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.""He asked the way to Chester."
    • Ask To invite; as, to ask one to an entertainment.
    • Ask To make inquiry, or seek by request; -- sometimes followed by after. "Wherefore . . . dost ask after my name?"
    • Ask To publish in church for marriage; -- said of both the banns and the persons.
    • Ask To request or petition; -- usually followed by for; as, to ask for bread. "Ask , and it shall be given you."
    • Ask To request; to seek to obtain by words; to petition; to solicit; -- often with of, in the sense of from, before the person addressed. "Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God.""If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
    • Ask To require, demand, claim, or expect, whether by way of remuneration or return, or as a matter of necessity; as, what price do you ask? "Ask me never so much dowry.""To whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.""An exigence of state asks a much longer time to conduct a design to maturity."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Eleanor Roosevelt wrote David O. Selznick to ask that her maid, Lizzy McDuffy, be considered for the role of Mammy in Gone With the Wind.
    • ask To request; seek by words to obtain; petition for: commonly with of, in the sense of from, before the person to whom the request is made.
    • ask To demand, expect, or claim: with for: as, what price do you ask, or ask for it?
    • ask To solicit from; request of: with a personal object, and with or without for before the thing desired: as, I ask you a great favor; to ask one for a drink of water.
    • ask To require as necessary or useful; demand; exact.
    • ask To interrogate or inquire of; put a question to.
    • ask To inquire concerning; seek to be informed about: as, to ask the way; to ask a question.
    • ask To invite: as, to ask guests to a wedding or entertainment.
    • ask and Ask, Inquire, Question, Interrogate. Ask is here also the generic word; it is simple and informal. Inquire may be used in the endeavor to be civil, or it may express a more minute examination into facts: as, to inquire (into, as to) the causes of discontent. To question in this sense implies the asking of a series of questions, it being supposed that the truth is hard to get at, through ignorance, reluctance, etc., in the person questioned. Interrogate is essentially the same as question, but more formal: as, to question a child or servant about his conduct; to interrogate a witness, an applicant for office, etc. Questioning or interrogation might be resented where asking, asking a question, or inquiring would meet with a friendly response.
    • ask To request or petition: with for before the thing requested: as, ask for bread.
    • ask To inquire or make inquiry; put a question: often followed by after or about, formerly also by of.
    • n ask A newt.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: On average, when asked for a color, 3 out of 5 people will say red.
    • v.t Ask ask to seek: to request, inquire, beg, question, invite
    • v.i Ask to request: to make inquiry (with about and for—as to ask one after or for another)
    • ***


  • George Eliot
    “No great deed is done by falterers who ask for certainty.”
  • Oscar Wilde
    “While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.”
  • John Churton Collins
    John Churton Collins
    “Never claim as a right what you can ask as a favor.”
  • German Proverb
    German Proverb
    “Never give advice unless asked.”
  • T. S. Eliot
    “The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.”
  • Mark Twain
    “In Boston they ask, How much does he know? In New York, How much is he worth? In Philadelphia, Who were his parents?”


No questions asked - If something is to be done and no questions asked, then it doesn't matter what methods are used or what rules are broken to ensure that it gets done.
Now I ask you - Used at the end of a story to express disbelief, or in answer to a question to express a mild indignation.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. asken, ashen, axien, AS. āscian, ācsian,; akin to OS. ēscōn, OHG. eiscōn, Sw. āska, Dan. æske, D. eischen, G. heischen, Lith. jëskóti, OSlav. iskati, to seek, Skr. ish, to desire. √5


In literature:

She knew that what I had asked of her I asked no more.
"The King's Mirror" by Anthony Hope
The way the Master asks is unlike other men's asking.
"The Sayings Of Confucius" by Confucius
Papa sent me to ask you to please come down to the factory right away.
"The Root of Evil" by Thomas Dixon
In that case, you will not be offended if I ask you to go away.
"Deerbrook" by Harriet Martineau
This was what Kentucky had the right to ask, and this is all she has asked.
"A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention" by Lucius Eugene Chittenden
They both behave as if husbands tumbled into your mouth for the asking.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
He asked me all over again all the questions the first man had asked, and many more.
"Working With the Working Woman" by Cornelia Stratton Parker
Phillie leaned out, and asked her, as she asked everybody, if she knew anything about her father.
"A Confederate Girl's Diary" by Sarah Margan Dawson
I asked, with much astonishment, if he didn't mean thousands, and he, with equal astonishment, asked if I didn't mean hundreds.
"Twenty Years of Hus'ling" by J. P. Johnston
A neighbor perhaps to ask for some firewood.
"Nobody's Boy" by Hector Malot

In poetry:

morning glory!
the well bucket-entangled,
I ask for water
"The Morning Glory!" by Kaga no Chiyo
"Manners, miss,
Please behave.
Those who ask,
Shan't have."
"Ding Dong" by Arthur Clement Hilton
The claw
Of the magnolia,
Drunk on its own scents,
Asks nothing of life.
"Paralytic" by Sylvia Plath
When birds begin
To chirp "Be mine!"
Ask her to be
Thi Valentine.
"Luver's Calendar" by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe
So ask; and if they tell
The secret terrible,
Good friend,
I pray thee send
"To The Dead Cardinal Of Westminster" by Francis Thompson
When birds begin
To chirp “Be mine!”
Ask her to be
Thi Valentine.
"A Luver’s Calendar" by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe

In news:

Scott Hauge, the indefatigable founder and president of Small Business California, put out an email SOS today asking people to vote in a Wall Street Journal poll asking if the Small Business Administration should be eliminated.
Some teens get around this by socializing in groups, so instead of asking him "out," consider asking if he'd like to join you and a group of your friends sometime.
Katie Couric isn't afraid to ask the hard questions — maybe that's why her new talk show's ratings are so good — and she recently asked singer Rod Stewart if he had his stomach pump ed after a wild night with sailors in San Diego.
Katie Couric isn't afraid to ask the hard questions — maybe that's why her new talk show's ratings are so good — and she recently asked singer Rod Stewart if he had his stomach pumped after a wild night with sailors in San Diego.
Paige and Fletcher are both asking to have their cases tried separately, and Paige is asking the court to suppress statements he made to police.
Asking Tajik women why they like the unibrow is a bit like asking Western women why they like to paint their nails or pluck their eyebrows into oblivion.
When folks ask that question, they're really asking for your marginal tax rate.
If you ask me, when will we get there, or, how long you gonna be gone, I'm already trying to figure out, without hurting your feelings, how to un-ask you to come with.
A city resident asked the City Council to drop the Pledge of Allegiance from meetings Monday — less than a month after he asked the Issaquah School Board to remove the pledge from its meetings.
Ask the Mexican at, be his fan on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or ask him a video question at
COLONIE — Colonie police are asking for the public's help after receiving a report that a man asked two children to get into his car.
Asked him why Dems kept asking for recounts PP said Dems wanted to be sure GOP hadn't stuffed ballot box for President-Elect Romney.
To begin with, frankly, the single currency is a wonderful idea, but it was strange to create it without asking oneself the question of its governance, and without asking oneself about economic convergence.
Has a customer ever asked you to validate a manufacturing process or procedure, or have you asked for validation from a supplier.
Andy retells the story of men asking him to ask Nichole on dates.

In science:

These measures bias towards certain types of matrices and away from others, and one may ask how the eigenvalue correlations depend on the {µN } in the large N limit.
Universality and scaling of zeros on symplectic manifolds
In RPT one could similarly endow spaces of polynomials of degree N with a variety of measures, and ask how correlations between zeros depend on them in the large N limit.
Universality and scaling of zeros on symplectic manifolds
The authors thank David Cantor, Robert Coleman, Daniel Goldstein, Hendrik Lenstra, Bjorn Poonen, and Joel Rosenberg for helpful conversations and correspondence, and Mike Zieve for asking the questions that led to this research and for commenting on an early version of this paper.
On the existence of absolutely simple abelian varieties of a given dimension over an arbitrary field
The natural question that can be asked is at what energy scale the dynamics of QCD becomes relevant and how does this manifest itself in the Dirac spectrum.
Chiral Random Matrix Model for Critical Statistics
John Thompson has asked if every matrix is the product of a cyclic matrix and a permutation matrix, suggesting that the answer could have applications to finite pro jective planes.
Random matrix theory over finite fields: a survey