After reading today’s Good Word agley, Doug Schulek-Miller wanted to know how this word differs from awry.
There isn’t much difference at all. You can say that someone’s hat is agley or awry or that their plans went either way. However, you can also say that someone looks agley at you (= askance) since the underlying verb here is gley “squint, look sideways” while you cannot use “awry” in this sense. I didn’t mention this usage in today’s Good Word so that my description of agley didn’t go agley.
Perhaps the greatest difference is that you can say awry outside Scotland and be understood.