Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Askance

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is askance. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Askance means “with disapproval or distrust” or “with a side-glance.”  

// The children looked askance at their mother when she suggested they turn off their electronic devices and go play outside in the nice weather.

ASKANCE in Context

“‘Sometimes not being authentic to the region is a good thing.’ … [chef] Klime Kovaceski, who also prefers dried pasta to fresh, understands that some purists might look askance at his methods.” — Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald, 3 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Askance, which etymologists believe may have been influenced by askew, comes from Middle English forms such as askaunce, a-skans, a-skaunces, meaning variously “in such a way that,” “as if,” “as if to say,” and “artificially” or “deceptively.” The word was first used in English in the 16th century with the meaning “sideways” or “with a sideways glance,” and 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.

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