\ ə-ˈskan(t)s How to pronounce askance (audio) \
variants: or less commonly askant \ -​ˈskant How to pronounce askant (audio) \

Definition of askance

1 : with disapproval or distrust : scornfully They eyed the stranger askance. Many critics have looked askance at the proposal.
2 : with a side-glance : obliquely That experienced pilot of the Broads looked askance at his watch, and drew Allan aside at the first opportunity.— Wilkie Collins

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Examples of askance in a Sentence

we looked askance at the dealer's assertion that the car had never been in an accident

Recent Examples on the Web

Many of the great romantic comedies have been written by men: Who’s going to look askance at Preston Sturges, let alone William Shakespeare? Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Yesterday Is a Rom-Com That’s Perfectly Charming If You Don’t Look Too Closely," 26 June 2019 The Trump warning to Mr. Draghi and his successor is nonetheless that Washington will look askance at further attempts at competitive devaluation on the not-so-sly. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Trump Tweet and the Draghi Euro," 18 June 2019 But the products of his grotesque imagination, which fixed on anything smelly, phony, hollow, haphazard, askance or asymmetrical, remain testaments to humor’s revelatory power. Julian Lucas, New York Times, "The Russian Comic Writer Who’s an Antidote to Mad Times," 2 May 2018 Beginning in 1985 the Federal Home Loan Bank Board began to look askance at Lincoln’s activities, and Keating called in political favors to try to get the dogs called off. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "John McCain, who died at 81, explained," 26 Aug. 2018 Boyfriends who bore witness to my habit looked at me askance, as if my behavior were on a par with swiping sugar packets from a diner counter. Vogue, "3 Writers On Living Sustainably In 2018," 21 June 2018 But perhaps at a time when so much of warfare is difficult to see—special forces operations, cyberattacks, mass surveillance, and drone strikes—a novel can illuminate the human suffering of war by looking at it askance. Andrew Lanham, The New Republic, "Michael Ondaatje’s Haunting Pasts," 8 June 2018 Major stock exchanges are starting to look askance at dual-class stock structures that vest supermajority control in individuals or small groups. Michael Hiltzik,, "Hype and plunder: This high-tech company may be setting a new low for self-indulgent IPOs," 4 June 2018 While many news organizations would look askance at such an attack, especially during the #MeToo era, NBC News appears to be giving Brokaw’s broadside tacit support. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Tom Brokaw scandal: NBC News accused of victim shaming, pressuring women to support star," 2 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'askance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of askance

circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for askance

probably a sense development (influenced by asqwynt "obliquely, askew," and phonetically similar words) of earlier and Middle English askaunce, a-skans, a-skaunces "in such a way that, as if, as if to say, artificially, deceptively," from as- as entry 1 + Old French quanses, canses "as if, appearing as though," from quanse-, canse- (going back to Latin quam sī "as if") + -s, adverbial suffix

Note: Evidence for quanses/canses, etc., is lacking in Anglo-French, suggesting that Middle English a-skaunces may not have been directly borrowed from French; rather, the model for the word may have been Middle Dutch als quansis with the same sense, with quansis perhaps borrowed from French dialects adjacent to Dutch (cf. fé lès qwanses "to pretend," Walloon of Liège according to Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 2, p. 1416).

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ask after





Statistics for askance

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for askance

The first known use of askance was circa 1530

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More Definitions for askance



English Language Learners Definition of askance

: in a way that shows a lack of trust or approval


\ ə-ˈskans How to pronounce askance (audio) \

Kids Definition of askance

1 : with a side glance She did not turn her head but watched him askance.
2 : with distrust or disapproval We looked askance at the strangers.

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More from Merriam-Webster on askance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with askance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for askance

Spanish Central: Translation of askance

Nglish: Translation of askance for Spanish Speakers

Comments on askance

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to complain fretfully

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