scare quotes

plural noun
  1. a pair of quotation marks used around a term or phrase to indicate that the writer does not think it is being used appropriately or that the writer is using it in a specialized sense: a “huge breakthrough” in the negotiations.: Compare air quotes.

Origin of scare quotes

First recorded in 1955–60

Words Nearby scare quotes Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use scare quotes in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for scare quotes

scare quotes

pl n
  1. quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it should not be taken literally or automatically accepted as true

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012