Etymology
Advertisement
ask (v.)

Old English ascian "ask, call for an answer; make a request," from earlier ahsian, from Proto-Germanic *aiskojanan (source also of Old Saxon escon, Old Frisian askia "request, demand, ask," Middle Dutch eiscen, Dutch eisen "to ask, demand," Old High German eiscon "to ask (a question)," German heischen "to ask, demand"), from PIE *ais- "to wish, desire" (source also of Sanskrit icchati "seeks, desires," Armenian aic "investigation," Old Church Slavonic iskati "to seek," Lithuanian ieškau, ieškoti "to seek").

Form in English influenced by a Scandinavian cognate (such as Danish æske; the Old English would have evolved by normal sound changes into ash, esh, which was a Midlands and southwestern England dialect form). Modern dialectal ax is as old as Old English acsian and was an accepted literary variant until c. 1600. Related: Asked; asking.

Old English also had fregnan/frignan which carried more directly the sense of "question, inquire," and is from PIE root *prek-, the common source of words for "ask" in most Indo-European languages (see pray). If you ask me "in my opinion" is attested from 1910.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
asker (n.)
"questioner," late 14c., agent noun from ask (v.).
Related entries & more 
unasked (adj.)
mid-13c., "uninvited," from un- (1) "not" + past participle of ask (v.). Old English had ungeaxod.
Related entries & more 
asking (adj.)
c. 1200 (replacing Old English ascunge), present-participle adjective from ask (v.). Asking price is attested from 1755. To be asking for it (it = "trouble, injury," etc.) is from 1909.
Related entries & more 
demand (v.)

late 14c., demaunden, "ask questions, make inquiry," from Old French demander (12c.) "to request; to demand," from Latin demandare "entrust, charge with a commission" (in Medieval Latin, "to ask, request, demand"), from de- "completely" (see de-) + mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)).

Meaning "ask for with insistence or urgency" is from early 15c., from Anglo-French legal use ("to ask for as a right"). Meaning "require as necessary or useful" is by 1748. Related: Demanded; demanding.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
require (v.)

late 14c., requeren, "to ask (someone) a question, inquire," a sense now obsolete, from Old French requerre, requerir "seek, procure; beg, ask, petition; demand," from Vulgar Latin *requaerere, from Latin requirere "seek to know, ask, ask for (something needed)," from re-, here perhaps meaning "repeatedly" (see re-), + quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)). In some later English senses probably directly from Latin.

Still in 16c.-17c. commonly "to ask or request (to have or do something)," but this original sense of the word has been taken over by request (v.).

Also from late 14c. as "to stand in need of, want; to need for some end or purpose." The sense of "demand that (someone) do (something)" is from 1751, via the notion of "to ask for imperatively, or as a right" (late 14c.). The meaning "demand as necessary or essential on general principles" is from early 15c. Related: Required; requiring.

Related entries & more 
quaere 

Latin imperative of quaerere "to ask, inquire" (see query (v.)). Used in English in the sense of "one may ask" (1530s) as an introduction to a question. Also used as a synonym of query (1580s).

Related entries & more 
inquire (v.)
c. 1300, enqueren, anqueren, "to ask (a question), ask about, ask for (specific information); learn or find out by asking, seek information or knowledge; to conduct a legal or official investigation (into an alleged offense)," from Old French enquerre "ask, inquire about" (Modern French enquérir) and directly from Medieval Latin inquerere, from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)), in place of classical Latin inquirere "seek after, search for, examine, scrutinize." The English word was respelled 14c. on the Latin model, but half-Latinized enquire persists. Related: Inquired; inquiring.
Related entries & more 
request (v.)

1530s, "ask (someone) to (do something), express desire for something to be done;" 1560s, "express a wish or desire, ask to be allowed to do something," from request (n.) or from French requester, "ask again, request, reclaim," from requeste. The older verb was Middle English requeren (14c.), from Old French requerre and directly from Latin requiare. Related: Requested; requesting.

Related entries & more 
*prek- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to ask, entreat." 

It forms all or part of: deprecate; deprecation; expostulate; imprecate; imprecation; postulate; pray; prayer; precarious; precatory; prithee.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit prasna-, Avestan frashna- "question;" Sanskrit prcchati, Avestan peresaiti "interrogates;" Latin precari "ask earnestly, beg, entreat;" Old Church Slavonic prositi, Lithuanian prašyti "to ask, beg;" Old High German frahen, German fragen, Old English fricgan "to ask" a question.  

Related entries & more