look askance

Idioms & Phrases

look askance

View with mistrust, as in They looked askance at him when he said he'd just made a million in the stock market. The precise feeling conveyed by this expression has varied since it was first used in the 1500s, from envy to contempt to suspicion, although the literal meaning was "look obliquely, with a side glance." The present sense dates from about 1800. Also see look sideways.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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