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,

Last edited {1}
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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