scare quotes

plural noun

Definition of scare quotes

: quotation marks used to express especially skepticism or derision concerning the use of the enclosed word or phrase

Examples of scare quotes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His paper is rife with scare quotes and clauses layered in baklava-like profusion. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 Note those scare quotes, for there’s nothing especially normal about Leda, a woman who tartly rejects any prescriptive model of what a woman should be. Guy Lodge, Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 The scare quotes around academic freedom are a nice touch. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 5 June 2021 Note the scare quotes; abandon all hope, ye who want a narrative here, which is frankly missing the point. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 26 Mar. 2021 Beethoven, in and out of scare quotes, has become a godlike abstraction of himself, complete with one-word moniker — his music less a product of culture than a feature of nature. Washington Post, 24 Dec. 2020 At times, the authors seem to presume a like-minded readership, as terms like forever war and endless wars—both now in common usage—are derided with scare quotes. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 17 Dec. 2020 Their skepticism often manifests in a fondness for scare quotes. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 22 June 2020 The letter is full of scare quotes, long sentences, parentheticals, personal call-outs, and all caps for emphasis. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, 23 May 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scare quotes.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of scare quotes

1956, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for scare quotes

Time Traveler

The first known use of scare quotes was in 1956

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Dictionary Entries Near scare quotes

scar end

scare quotes

scare someone to death

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Statistics for scare quotes

Cite this Entry

“Scare quotes.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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