Dear experts,

According to the dictionary definitions I found for DON'T ASK / DON'T ASK ME:

don't ask - is used to tell a person that the answer is so depressing one wouldn't even want to hear it: How am I? Don't ask.

don't ask me - is used to tell smb. that one does not know the answer: She's decided to dye her hair bright green, don't ask me why.

Does it follow the the expressions in question are NOT interchangeable in their respective contexts?

Thank you,

Original Post
It's true: the expressions "don't ask" and "don't ask me" are not interchangeable, as you describe.

Here's the entry for "don't ask" from the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms*:

"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]..."

Your example for "don't ask" is right on.

Your example for "don't ask me" is fine, too. You also might hear a conversation like this:

A: Where's Bobby?
B: Don't ask ME. Ask Tammy. She always knows where he is.


*The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1992

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