Her little Ladyship, eyeing me askance, answered, 'I can't come now—the dress-maker is waiting to fit on my frock.'
As he bent his head she looked at me askance, and I thought she blushed.
They crowded away from the two well-dressed high-school girls, looking at them askance.
He would stand no nonsense, would not have her looked on askance.
In more fashionable circles the mere possession of a pipe might be looked at askance.
Taras toyed with his teaspoon, turning it between his fingers and looking at them askance.
Lukynitch stood with his grey head bent on his breast, and stared at me askance in a strange sort of way.
Bob and Thirza Pierson, meeting in their own room, looked at each other askance.
At first, indeed, his activity had been looked at askance at Innsbruck, as but another force making for disintegration.
But Tom eyed her askance and discreetly declined her overture.
1520s, "sideways, asquint," of obscure origin. OED has separate listings for askance and obsolete Middle English askance(s) and no indication of a connection, but Barnhart and others derive the newer word from the older one. The Middle English word, recorded early 14c. as ase quances and found later in Chaucer, meant "in such a way that; even as; as if;" and as an adverb "insincerely, deceptively." It has been analyzed as a compound of as and Old French quanses (pronounced "kanses") "how if," from Latin quam "how" + si "if."
The E[nglish] as is, accordingly, redundant, and merely added by way of partial explanation. The M.E. askances means "as if" in other passages, but here means, "as if it were," i.e. "possibly," "perhaps"; as said above. Sometimes the final s is dropped .... [Walter W. Skeat, glossary to Chaucer's "Man of Law's Tale," 1894]Also see discussion in Leo Spitzer, "Anglo-French Etymologies," Philological Quarterly 24.23 (1945), and see OED entry for askance (adv.) for discussion of the mysterious ask- word cluster in English. Other guesses about the origin of askance include Old French a escone, from past participle of a word for "hidden;" Italian a scancio "obliquely, slantingly;" or that it is a cognate of askew.