Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English eschewen, from Anglo-Norman eschiver, (third-person present eschiu), from Frankish *skiuhan (to dread, shun, avoid).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɛsˈtʃuː/,[1] /ɪsˈtʃuː/[1][2][3], /ɪʃˈtʃuː/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɛsˈtʃu/,[4][5][6] /ɪsˈtʃu/,[4][7] /ɛsˈtʃju/[6]
    (US, sometimes proscribed) IPA(key): /ɛˈʃu/,[4] /ɪˈʃu/[4] or /ɛˈskju/[4][8]
    Garner's Modern American Usage prefers /s.tʃ/, proscribes /ʃ/, and does not recognize /sk/.
  • Rhymes: -uː, -u


eschew (third-person singular simple present eschews, present participle eschewing, simple past and past participle eschewed)

  1. (transitive, formal) To avoid; to shun, to shy away from.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
      What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
    • Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
    • 1831, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality, volume 1, page 218:
      Above all, let her eschew the impertinence of invention; let her leave genius to her milliner.
    • 1927, H. P. Lovecraft, "The Horror at Red Hook"
      He could afford no servants, and would admit but few visitors to his absolute solitude; eschewing close friendships and receiving his rare acquaintances in one of the three ground-floor rooms which he kept in order.
    • 2014 November 14, Blake Bailey, “'Tennessee Williams,' by John Lahr [print version: Theatrical victory of art over life, International New York Times, 18 November 2014, p. 13]”, in The New York Times[1]:
      [S]he [Edwina, mother of Tennessee Williams] was indeed Amanda [Wingfield, character in Williams' play The Glass Menagerie] in the flesh: a doughty chatterbox from Ohio who adopted the manner of a Southern belle and eschewed both drink and sex to the greatest extent possible.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 65:
      I eschew the idea of plugging in my laptop to take notes and resort to old-fashioned pen and paper instead, so that I can enjoy more of the view and not be distracted by bashing a keyboard.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The verb eschew is not normally applied to the avoidance or shunning of a person or physical object, but rather, only to the avoidance or shunning of an idea, concept, or other intangible.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Concise Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
  3. ^ MacMillan's British dictionary
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, eleventh edition
  5. ^'s (primary) dictionary
  6. 6.0 6.1 Keynon and Knott's A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English
  7. ^ Collins English Dictionary, tenth edition
  8. ^ John Walker's A Critical Pronuncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language, which quotes James Elphinston, who also preferred the spelling eskew