\ə-ˈskan(t)s \
variants: or less commonly askant \ -​ˈskant \

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

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 While some look askance at produce that isn’t picture-perfect, Megan Klein saw opportunity. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Milwaukee resident, DSHA student leaves law career behind to connect folks with farm food," 20 Apr. 2018 Still, prosecutors understand that juries may look askance at sweetheart plea deals, especially with those who've been publicly demonized, and that defense lawyers may subject cooperators to bruising cross-examinations., "Mueller's Russia Probe Shows It Pays to Cooperate," 5 Apr. 2018 Noble, the former FEC official, said regulators might not look askance at the mere use of the corporate email account. Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY, "Did the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels break the law?," 12 Mar. 2018 Like Democrats before him, who in other parts of the country were considered outrageously liberal, Newsom repeatedly irritated his party’s left, which looked askance at his pragmatism and his opposition to tax increases. Christopher Cadelago, sacbee, "Gavin Newsom wasn’t always such a liberal crusader | The Sacramento Bee," 23 Feb. 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





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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 \

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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Comments on askance

What made you want to look up askance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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