From Middle English eschewen, from Anglo-Norman eschiver (modern French esquiver), (third-person present eschiu), from Frankish *sciuhan (to dread, shun, avoid), from Proto-Germanic *skiuhwijaną (to frighten). Cognate with Old High German sciuhen (to frighten off), German scheuen (eschew) (German scheuchen (shoo)), and Spanish esquivar. More at shy.


  • (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/.
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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.

Usage notesEdit

  • 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.


1599 1611 1927 2014
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



  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. ^ Dictionary.com'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