Printable Version
Pronunciation: es-chu Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To avoid, shun, shy away from; to reject.

Notes: Perhaps the shortest one-liner in English is "Eschew obfuscation", funny to some because both eschew and obfuscation are thought to contribute to obfuscation. However, both these words have now been established as alphaDictionary Good Words, making them simply citizens of a literate vocabulary. One instance of eschewing is an eschewal while the process itself is eschewance; someone who eschews is an eschewer.

In Play: Do not eschew the use of this word wherever you are. It is a very handy term around the workplace: "Gladys Friday tends to eschew work on warm, sunny days." This word also offers a lovely way of expressing your wishes indirectly without resorting to such expressions as gimme: "I get an allergic reaction to flowers, but I would not eschew a box of truly excellent chocolates."

Word History: Believe it or not, eschew is English shy in French clothing. Eschew originated in the ancient ancestor of English, Proto-Germanic, as skiva- "to avoid, dodge". This word was borrowed by Old French before it went on directly to become English shy. English borrowed the word back from Old French eschiv(er) "(to) dodge, avoid" as escheuen (before the Old French verb became Modern French esquiver). When Old English gave up the infinitive ending -en, the result quickly became Modern English eschew.

Dr. Goodword,

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