es·​chew e-ˈshü How to pronounce eschew (audio)
es-ˈchü How to pronounce eschew (audio)
 also  e-ˈskyü
eschewed; eschewing; eschews

transitive verb

: to avoid habitually especially on moral or practical grounds : shun
e-ˈshü-əl How to pronounce eschew (audio)
 also  e-ˈskyü-

Did you know?

Eschew derives from the Anglo-French verb eschiver and is akin to the Old High German verb sciuhen ("to frighten off"), an ancestor of our word shy. In his famous dictionary of 1755 Dr. Samuel Johnson characterized "eschew" as "almost obsolete." History has proven that the great lexicographer was wrong on that call, however. William Thackeray found "eschew" alive enough to use it almost one hundred years later in his classic novel Vanity Fair: "He has already eschewed green coats, red neckcloths, and other worldly ornaments." The word swelled in usage in English during the 19th and 20th centuries and is now common enough to be included even in small paperback dictionaries.

Choose the Right Synonym for eschew

escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something.

escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent.

nothing escapes her sharp eyes

avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty.

try to avoid past errors

evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding.

evaded the question by changing the subject

elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes.

what she sees in him eludes me

shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence.

you have shunned your responsibilities

eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful.

a playwright who eschews melodrama

Examples of eschew in a Sentence

Though a doctor with psychiatric training, he eschewed the science that had so enamored earlier child-rearing professionals … Sue Halpern, New York Review of Books, 29 May 2003
A fair number of academics eschew the simple title "professor" and call themselves economists, astronomers, historians, philosophers. Tracy Kidder, Home Town, 1999
When introduced to a stranger, he eschewed formalities, stuck out a gnarled right hand and responded with a chummy, "Hermann." Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated, 2 Feb. 1998
They now eschew the violence of their past. a psychologist who eschews the traditional methods of psychotherapy
Recent Examples on the Web Chinese titles eschewed their usual Friday release pattern and opened on Saturday, the first official day of the Lunar New Year holiday period in China and much of Asia. Patrick Frater, Variety, 12 Feb. 2024 Dropping on February 10, the sneakers eschew the typical white colorway in favor of Bape’s signature camouflage motif. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 8 Feb. 2024 Styled by Molly Dickson, Del Rey—who is up for five awards, including Song and Album of the Year—completely eschewed the traditional awards show gown. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 5 Feb. 2024 What to look out for Several cruise lines eschew art auctions, including Oceania, Crystal, Windstar, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Scott Laird, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Jan. 2024 Its plausibility enhances the film’s impact, allowing The Beekeeper to eschew convoluted plotlines and intellectual posturing that can weigh down action movies. Giancarlo Sopo, National Review, 13 Jan. 2024 The trend has to do with eschewing overstimulation and even toxins, while also removing vibrant colors. Melissa Willets, Parents, 13 Jan. 2024 By cowering just behind Atlanta’s veneer of upward mobility and celebrity, mayors like Dickens effectively eschew valid critiques of their criminal legal system tactics. Essence, 10 Jan. 2024 The property also eschews the Alaskan-lodge stereotype—log-hewn and rustically spartan—feeling more like a contemporary mountainside mansion, with a neutral palette of blues and grays and modern light fixtures. Jen Murphy, Robb Report, 3 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French eschiver (3rd present eschiu) of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German sciuhen to frighten off — more at shy

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of eschew was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near eschew

Cite this Entry

“Eschew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


es·​chew is-ˈchü How to pronounce eschew (audio)
: shun, avoid

More from Merriam-Webster on eschew

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!