[ skyoo ]
See synonyms for: skewskewedskewerskewest on

verb (used with object)
  1. to give an oblique direction to; shape, form, or cut obliquely: In a crochet project, a slip stitch can skew the edge a bit if you use it to finish the final round.

  2. to make conform to a specific concept, attitude, or planned result; slant: The television show is skewed to the young teenager.

  1. to distort; depict unfairly: When other researchers looked into the report, they found misrepresentation of data that skewed the evidence.

  2. Statistics. to cause (a distribution) to have a disproportionate number of data points above or below the mean: The income categories for transit commuters were skewed toward higher incomes because the survey was only distributed through a phone app.

verb (used without object)
  1. to turn aside or swerve; take an oblique course: The car skewed sharply to the right when it hit the patch of ice.

  2. to display a tendency in a particular direction: My reading skews toward nonfiction, which I suppose isn't that surprising for a historian.

  1. to be distorted or unfairly depicted: The narrative presented by the country's leading newspapers skews toward an account that fits the needs of the state.

  2. to look obliquely; squint.

  1. a tendency in a particular direction: Officials involved in budget-related discussions said that there was a skew towards social sector spending.

  2. an oblique movement, direction, or position.

  1. Also called skew chisel. a wood chisel having a cutting edge set obliquely.

  1. having an oblique direction or position; slanting; sideways: The picture is square, but the angles of the trees give it a skew look.

  2. having a part that deviates from a straight line, right angle, etc.: skew gearing.

  1. Mathematics. (of a dyad or dyadic) equal to the negative of its conjugate.

  2. (of an arch, bridge, etc.) having the centerline of its opening forming an oblique angle with the direction in which its spanning structure is built.

  3. Statistics. (of a distribution) not symmetrical; having skewness.

Origin of skew

First recorded in 1350–1400; (for the verb) Middle English skewen “to slip away, swerve,” from Middle Dutch schuwen “to get out of the way, shun,” derivative of schu (Dutch schuw ) shy1; adjective derivative of the verb, probably by analogy with askew; noun derivative of the verb and adjective

Words that may be confused with skew

Words Nearby skew Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use skew in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for skew


/ (skjuː) /

  1. placed in or turning into an oblique position or course

  2. machinery having a component that is at an angle to the main axis of an assembly or is in some other way asymmetrical: a skew bevel gear

  1. maths

    • composed of or being elements that are neither parallel nor intersecting as, for example, two lines not lying in the same plane in a three-dimensional space

    • (of a curve) not lying in a plane

  2. (of a statistical distribution) not having equal probabilities above and below the mean; non-normal

  3. distorted or biased

  1. an oblique, slanting, or indirect course or position

  2. psychol the system of relationships in a family in which one parent is extremely dominating while the other parent tends to be meekly compliant

  1. to take or cause to take an oblique course or direction

  2. (intr) to look sideways; squint

  1. (tr) to place at an angle

  2. (tr) to distort or bias

Origin of skew

C14: from Old Norman French escuer to shun, of Germanic origin; compare Middle Dutch schuwen to avoid

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

Scientific definitions for skew


[ skyōō ]

  1. A transformation of coordinates in which one coordinate is displaced in one direction in proportion to its distance from a coordinate plane or axis. A rectangle, for example, that undergoes skew is transformed into a parallelogram. Also called shear

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.