From Middle English eschewen, from Anglo-Norman eschiver (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”) (and German scheuchen (“shoo”)). More at shy.
eschew (third-person singular simple present eschews, present participle eschewing, simple past and past participle eschewed)
- (transitive, formal) To avoid; to shun, to shy away from.
- 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.
c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals):
- What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.
- Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
- 1927, H.P. Lovecraft, The Horror at Red Hook
- He could afford no servants, and would admit but few visitors to his absolute solitude; eschewing close friendships and receiving his rare acquaintances in one of the three ground-floor rooms which he kept in order.
2014 November 14, Blake Bailey, “'Tennessee Williams,' by John Lahr [print version: Theatrical victory of art over life, International New York Times, 18 November 2014, p. 13]”, in The New York Times:
- [S]he [Edwina, mother of Tennessee Williams] was indeed Amanda [Wingfield, character in Williams' play The Glass Menagerie] in the flesh: a doughty chatterbox from Ohio who adopted the manner of a Southern belle and eschewed both drink and sex to the greatest extent possible.