\ ə-ˈskan(t)s How to pronounce askance (audio) \
variants: or less commonly askant \ ə-​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 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 But some Iowans were starting to look askance at the IGHSAU’s bylaw, creating a perfect environment to challenge the ruling. Britni De La Cretaz, Longreads, "Flagrant Foul: Benching Teen Moms Before Title IX," 14 Aug. 2019 In addition, his apparent enthusiasm for astrology and seeming fondness for such ideas as astral projection and the possibility of abduction by aliens also led his scientific peers to look at him askance. Martin Weil,, "Kary Mullis, unconventional Nobel laureate who unlocked DNA research, 74," 12 Aug. 2019 As loyal traveling companion Celia, Anne Yumi Kobori looks askance at Ganymede’s shenanigans. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: Charming SF Shakes’ ‘As You Like It’ has a secret musical weapon," 10 July 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 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 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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Statistics for askance

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for askance

The first known use of askance was circa 1530

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on askance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for askance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with askance

Spanish Central: Translation of askance

Nglish: Translation of askance for Spanish Speakers

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