- with suspicion, mistrust, or disapproval: He looked askance at my offer.
- with a side glance; sidewise; obliquely.
Origin of askance
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for askance
When John Kenyon entered his office, he thought the clerk looked at him askance.A Woman Intervenes
Claude, who was now growing embarrassed, had examined the girl, askance.His Masterpiece
The lanky Sucatash looked at him askance, catching the note of sentiment.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
Men were apt to look at him askance, half doubtful, half-indignant.The Trimming of Goosie
"You speak of the castle as if you knew about it," said the landlady, eyeing her askance.The Old Countess; or, The Two Proposals
Ann S. Stephens
- with an oblique glance
- with doubt or mistrust
Word Origin and History for askance
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.
Idioms and Phrases with askance
see look askance.