\ ə-ˈskan(t)s How to pronounce askance (audio) \
variants: or less commonly askant \ ə-​ˈskant How to pronounce askance (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 Candidates and their backers also typically knock on doors to get signatures, but that’s not an option this year as people look askance at strangers on their doorsteps. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With no parades and no door-to-door campaigning, candidates find it tough to get ballot signatures in the COVID-19 era," 18 May 2020 True, lots of good white progressives look askance at businessmen who amass vast fortunes. John Powers, Los Angeles Times, "Debate Mike vs. TV-ad Mike: How Bloomberg revived the relevance of the political TV commercial," 28 Feb. 2020 Saban heard those words and looked askance and sidewise. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Math-shaming Nick Saban is always adding more," 9 Feb. 2020 But Blue Thunder is still early enough in the cycle to look askance at its titular sweet ride. Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "Forget Top Gun: Maverick—let’s settle Blue Thunder vs. Airwolf once and for all," 10 Jan. 2020 Anyone who transgresses that norm by refusing to follow traditional gender stereotypes is viewed askance and, in small and large ways, treated as an outcast. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "To be a better ally, I gave up reading books by men for 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 Wisconsinites might look askance at the pie that uses sweet instead of sour cherries, but the bars, Bundt cakes, cookies and other sweets and savories in this book feed the Midwestern soul. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gift guide: 2019 cookbooks and companion goodies for food and drink lovers," 5 Dec. 2019 Even beneficiaries of the increase look at it askance. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "The Year of the Home Run Reaches October," 1 Oct. 2019 As regulators look increasingly askance at Big Tech, the very notion of blitzscaling raises competition and other concerns, which will make public investors yet more queasy. The Economist, "WeWork shows why some venture capitalists are in a world of make-believe," 28 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for askance

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The first known use of askance was circa 1530

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Cite this Entry

“Askance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for askance


How to pronounce askance (audio)

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on askance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for askance

Nglish: Translation of askance for Spanish Speakers

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