Definition of askance
- They eyed the stranger askance.
- Many critics have looked askance at the proposal.
- That experienced pilot of the Broads looked askance at his watch, and drew Allan aside at the first opportunity.
- —Wilkie Collins
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
we looked askance at the dealer's assertion that the car had never been in an accident
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Etymologists have been scratching their heads over the origin of "askance" for centuries. Sources from Italian and Old Norse, among other languages, have been suggested, but, today, dictionary editors look askance at all of these explanations and simply label the word origin unknown. What we do know is that the word was first used in English in the mid-16th century with the meaning "sideways" or "with a sideways glance," and that writers over the years have used the suggestion of someone looking askance at something to express a number of feelings from disapproval and distrust to jealousy.
First Known Use: circa 1530See Words from the same year
What made you want to look up askance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to lessen the seriousness or strength of
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