adverb or adjective

: out of line : at an angle
The picture hung askew.
askewness noun

Did you know?

Askew was formed simply by attaching the prefix a- (meaning "in [such] a state or condition") to skew. The latter comes from Anglo-French eschiver, meaning "to escape or avoid."

Examples of askew in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In nearby Beverly Glen, on Caribou Lane, an upside-down piano — caked in mud, keys askew — lay in the road. Angie Orellana Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 The interest in this project, as in any project is the potential for long-term success (profit) and risk sharing if anything goes askew during the process. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 May 2023 Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, publicly communicated the market assumptions that steered the Swedish tech giant askew. Rod Berger, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 But in the glittering air, every speck of dust casting a light beam slightly askew, something was missing. Joan Meiners, USA TODAY, 1 Dec. 2022 Weir walked onstage at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 5 in a loosefitting tuxedo, his bow tie slightly askew. Jonathan Williger, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'askew.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


probably from a- entry 1 + skew

First Known Use

1552, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of askew was in 1552


Dictionary Entries Near askew

Cite this Entry

“Askew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


adverb or adjective
: out of line : awry sense 1

More from Merriam-Webster on askew

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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