A big ask

A big ask is an idiom that has been around for decades. We will examine the meaning of the common saying a big ask, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

A big ask is a request that will be difficult for someone to accomplish, whether physically, monetarily, or emotionally. A big ask is the same as asking for a huge favor or asking for someone to go above and beyond what is expected of him. The word ask, to mean request, has been in use for hundreds of years, but the idiom a big ask originated in Australia in the 1980s. Within several decades the phrase had spread to the rest of the English-speaking world.

Examples

NI Covid cases remain stubbornly high and a ‘big ask’ of NI public now required (Belfast Newsletter)

“I think one of the biggest things was: It’s scary — teachers are already afraid to teach online and then to implement something new while they’re also implementing everything new is a big ask for them,” Haaff Principal Betsy Decesaro said. (Pueblo Chieftan)

“That’s a whole different look, and for guys who have been playing at the pro level, to throw them on their off side is a big ask and by nature I work with my (defensemen) on both sides, just so you’re comfortable,” Wrobel said. (Buffalo News)

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