ash 1 (ăsh)
1. The grayish-white to black powdery residue left when something is burned.
2. Geology Pulverized particulate matter ejected by volcanic eruption.
3. The mineral residue of incinerated organic matter, used as an additive in pet foods.
4. ashes Ruins: the ashes of a lost culture.
5. ashes Bodily remains, especially after cremation or decay.
v. ashed, ash·ing, ash·es
To reduce or convert to ash: ash a tissue sample for analysis.
Informal To drop ashes from a cigar or cigarette: accidentally ashed on his own sleeve.
[Middle English asshe, from Old English æsce; see as- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.