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

Definition of eschew

transitive verb

: to avoid habitually especially on moral or practical grounds : shun

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Other Words from eschew

eschewal \ e-​ˈshü-​əl How to pronounce eschew (audio) , i-​ ; es-​ˈchü-​ , is-​ ; also  e-​ˈskyü-​ \ noun

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

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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web The outdoor activities offer a solitary environment where people can eschew face masks and usually not fret about social distancing. Michael Hollan, Fox News, "Idaho fisherman catches trout that nearly doubles state weight record," 21 Dec. 2020 One of the interesting things about this paper is that there has been a movement among some A.I. researchers to eschew work for oil and gas companies on ethical grounds—after all, why help major carbon emitters to stay in business? Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A.I. needs to get real—and other takeways from this year’s NeurIPS," 15 Dec. 2020 The timing and acceleration of the surge indicate that many ignored officials’ and experts’ calls to eschew traveling and gathering for Thanksgiving — a potentially chilling prospect, given the wider winter holiday season is in full swing. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "After hitting L.A., COVID-19 wave now battering Southern California’s suburban counties," 12 Dec. 2020 Or is the Nasdaq suggesting that without its racial and gender orders, companies will eschew the profit motive? The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Woke Nasdaq," 1 Dec. 2020 This group, also prone to eschew masks and social distancing, are the main driver of transmission, according to public health officials. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 4-9," 10 Dec. 2020 The day has long been one of the most important economic markers for the rest of holiday season for mom-and-pops like Blackbird, as shoppers eschew big-box stores to support Small Business Saturday. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Small Business Saturday a lifeline to struggling retailers this year," 28 Nov. 2020 But Shanghai’s traders, bankers and support staff are mostly free to eschew masks, chat face-to-face with colleagues, host visitors in snug conference rooms and fly domestically to meet clients., "The Post-Covid Trading Floor Is Here — With Buffet Lunches, No Masks," 19 Oct. 2020 Worried about that risk, some riders have chosen to eschew public transit entirely, worsening a trend of declining ridership the RTA has seen in recent years. Conor Morris, cleveland, "Officials, riders debate the safety of riding the RTA during the pandemic," 30 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eschew.' 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 eschew

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eschew

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

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Time Traveler for eschew

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

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eschew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for eschew


How to pronounce eschew (audio) How to pronounce eschew (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eschew

formal : to avoid (something) especially because you do not think it is right, proper, etc.

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