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Alternative forms[edit]


Unknown. Possibly from Middle English askances (as if), or from Old French a escone (hidden) or Italian a scancio (obliquely). Compare asquint, Middle English askoyn (at a slant, askance), Dutch schuin, schuins (sideways), schuiven (to shove), schuinte (slope).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈskæns/, /əˈskɑːns/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈskæns/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑːns, -æns


askance (not comparable)

  1. (of a look or glance) With disapproval, skepticism, or suspicion.
    The beggar asked for change, but the haughty woman only looked at him askance.
  2. Sideways; obliquely.
    • 1896, H. G. Wells, chapter 8, in The Island of Doctor Moreau:
      I glanced askance at this strange creature, and found him watching me with his queer, restless eyes.
    • 1878, Henry James, chapter 1, in The Europeans:
      ...the head-stones in the grave-yard beneath seemed to be holding themselves askance to keep it out of their faces.




askance (not comparable)

  1. Turned to the side, especially of the eyes.



askance (third-person singular simple present askances, present participle askancing, simple past and past participle askanced)

  1. (rare, transitive) To look at (someone or something) with a sideways glance.
    • 1953, Lowry Charles Wimberly, Prairie Schooner (volume 27, page 406)
      Bowed heads, Aunt Ellen's, Aunt Laura's, her sister's — bowed but askancing her yellow dress — yes, yellow, golden yellow, hue of sun and life, Dad's favorite, to see him off on this, his greatest journey.
    • 1997, Tibor Fischer, The Thought Gang (page 185)
      "My dear sir," said Hube in an authoritative manner to the receptionist askancing Thales, "first of all, we aren't tourists. Secondly, this isn't a rat, this is the present embodiment of the spiritual leader of millions of people in India []
  2. (rare, transitive) To turn (one's eye or gaze) to the side.
    • 1826, William Hone, The Every Day Book, Or, A Guide to the Year:
      The pope askanced his eye at Michael with displeasure, and after a short pause saluted him, " Instead of your coming to us, you seem to have expected that we should attend upon you."