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A phrase said when one doesn't want someone to inquire about something. A: "Whoa, what happened in here?" B: "Ugh, don't ask."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A phrase used to fend off questions about a situation one finds awkward, unpleasant, or unsatisfactory. For example, How did we do in the bridge tournament? Don't ask! [Colloquial; 1960s] For a similar phrase, see forget it.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ˌdon’t ˈask(spoken, informal) if you say don’t ask to somebody, you mean that you do not want to reply to their question, because it would be awkward, embarrassing, etc: ‘How was your trip?’ ‘Don’t ask! It was a disaster!’
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sent. The answer is so depressing, you don’t even want to hear it. This has been a horrible day. How horrible, you say? Don’t ask.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
You don’t want to hear bad news, a long story, or something unpleasant or embarrassing. This slangy phrase, used since the 1960s and only in conversation, may be a response to a direct question, such as “How did you do on the exam?” or used to impart information, as in “Ask me how much we have left in the bank.”—“How much?”—“Don’t ask.” It differs from don’t ask me, said with the emphasis on me, which is a casual and somewhat impolite reply that means “I don’t know” (as in “‘When does the restaurant open?’— ‘Don’t ask me.’” A newer variation is don’t ask, don’t tell, which in the early 1990s began to designate a policy on homosexuality adopted by the U.S. military in 1994. Under this policy, personnel are not asked about their sexual orientation, and homosexuals are allowed to serve provided they do not openly reveal their orientation. This usage quickly spread to other contexts, as in “Our veterinarian has a “ ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ” policy about what happens to pets who must be put away.” Another variant is don’t go there, an indication that someone should avoid a topic. For example, in a congressional hearing about the war in Iraq, a representative interviewing Colin Powell suggested his war record was better than that of a president who may have been AWOL, whereupon Powell replied, “Let’s not go there in this hearing” (cited by Leslie Savan in her slang dictionary).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer