Askew vs eschew

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Askew and eschew are two words that are similar in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of askew and eschew, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Askew is a word used when referring to something awry, something that is not straight. Askew may refer to something that is physically awry or may be used figuratively to mean a situation or idea that is wrong or off-kilter. Askew may be used as an adverb, which is a part of speech that may modify a verb, adverb or adjective, or an adjective, which modifies a noun. The comparative form is more askew and the superlative form is most askew. The word askew entered the language sometime in the 1570s, though its exact source of derivation is unknown. It may have come from the Old Norse term a ska.

Eschew means to avoid, to shun, to abstain from voluntarily and deliberately, especially because you believe it is the proper thing to do. Eschew is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are eschewed, eschews, eschewing and the nouns eschewal and eschewance. Eschew is derived from the mid-fourteenth century Old French word eschiver, meaning shun, dispense with, it is also related to the Germanic words sciuhen meaning to avoid, escape and scheuen which means to fear, shun, or shrink from.


A dress might have askew squares in turquoise, pink and orange on a swing-along floor-sweeping skirt; others had swishy fringing, diagonal stripes or bold floral prints. (Vogue Magazine)

Pryor and others pointing out that our priorities are askew is on the mark, too, but Arkansans need their bread and circuses like everyone else, right? (The Fayetteville Flyer)

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, has urged Nigerians to eschew all forms of violence, live in peaceful coexistence and be their brother’s keeper. (The Daily Post Nigeria)