Definition of skew in English:



  • 1Neither parallel nor at right angles to a specified or implied line; askew; crooked.

    ‘his hat looked slightly skew’
    ‘a skew angle’
    • ‘I hope that he does say something a little off skew and controversial on the show to spice things up.’
    crooked, awry, askew, lopsided, uneven, asymmetrical, to one side, off-centre, skewed, skew, misaligned
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  • 2Mathematics
    (of a pair of lines) neither parallel nor intersecting.

    1. 2.1(of a curve) not lying in a plane.
  • 3Statistics
    (of a statistical distribution) not symmetrical.

    • ‘Empirical data, however, did not always detect a statistically significant skew toward rare alleles in the allele frequency distribution.’
    • ‘The sample odds ratio is limited at the lower end, since it cannot be negative, but not at the upper end, and so has a skew distribution.’


  • 1An oblique angle; a slant.

    • ‘The most important effect of the skew in angle is the raised plateau of entrance court created in the eastern corner.’
  • 2A bias towards one particular group or subject.

    ‘the paper had a working-class skew’
    • ‘The female skew was most evident during Saturday's opening ceremony rebroadcast, which attracted almost three-quarters of the female audience and 66 per cent of men.’
    • ‘In recent years we have seen more of a skew towards the High Arts and the Arts that people from more affluent suburbs tend to enjoy.’
    • ‘So a definite skew to the higher income households.’
    misrepresentation, perversion, twisting, falsification, misreporting, misstatement, manipulation
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  • 3Statistics
    [mass noun] The state of not being symmetrical.

    • ‘If there is no sex-ratio skew among nestlings, data regarding survival of hybrid males and females would be needed to explain the pattern noted by Bronson et al.’
    • ‘Although the variable of educational level was normally distributed in the sample, the variable of annual income showed a sharp positive skew.’
    • ‘We used a log transformation for the alcohol problem index because of the strong positive skew of the variable.’
    • ‘The per capita income variable was log transformed to reduce positive skew.’
    • ‘We see in the subsequent section that this fairly small skew from equal frequencies nonetheless yields a substantive potential for ‘nonstandard’ dynamical behavior.’


  • 1[no object, with adverbial] Suddenly change direction or position.

    ‘the car had skewed across the track’
    • ‘Pryce did well to block his shot with his legs, but the ball skewed sideways for Mercer to crash it into the empty net.’
    distort, misrepresent, change, alter, pervert, falsify, warp, skew, put the wrong slant on, misinterpret, misconstrue, misstate, misquote, quote out of context, take out of context, misreport
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    1. 1.1Twist or turn or cause to do this.
      ‘he skewed around in his saddle’
      [with object] ‘his leg was skewed in and pushed against the other one’
      curve, bend, veer, turn, bear, wind, twist, deviate, slew, skew, sheer off, change course, drift, head
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  • 2[with object] Make biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading.

    ‘the curriculum is skewed towards the practical subjects’
    • ‘No-one is suggesting that all science funded by company money is skewed or biased or lacking independence.’
    • ‘When consumers ‘vote’ with their dollars, the outcome will be skewed toward the preferences of those with more dollars.’
    • ‘As one of our readers noted, that poll used a sample that was obviously skewed toward the Democrats, and thus shouldn't be taken too seriously.’
    • ‘Trade has been unfairly skewed in favour of rich nations for decades now, the idea is to start skewing it in the other direction.’
    • ‘I had a work life and a family life, but I was skewed towards the work life.’
    • ‘Finally, the income tax cuts accompanying the tax package were massively skewed towards upper-income earners.’
    • ‘The poll is skewed toward likely voters, since it is reporting the attitudes of those who have already bothered to register.’
    • ‘You can count on us to find the answer, and to convey that information in an insulting, unfair and skewed manner.’
    • ‘It may seem wrong to extol the virtues of the English but with such a large Lions touring party, it is always likely to be skewed towards the biggest nation with strength in depth.’
    • ‘European understanding of our society, and of their own, is skewed by male-centered cultural biases.’
    • ‘People think teachers are against tests but the curriculum is skewed into doing them and it skews the whole of the school year.’
    • ‘All the facts would be skewed and biased anyway.’
    • ‘Our sample is also skewed towards the educated.’
    • ‘We devised the question sets to be, as far as possible, at the same level of difficulty in order not to bias or skew the overall results.’
    • ‘There are problems with the audience profile, Brown argues, which is skewed towards older males, and the predominance of imported programs.’
    • ‘While this article, in general, is very thorough, accurate and well-written, one sentence is inaccurate and inappropriately skews the potential for print Yellow Pages over the next five years.’
    • ‘I like the way the whole thing is skewed towards the safety of our children, so no-one need focus too closely on the actual sinister censorious implications for consenting adults behind this initiative.’
    • ‘The Times is not alone for demonstrating again a ‘news judgment’ hopelessly skewed by liberal bias.’
    • ‘I mean, the idea that the press is skewed toward him on this is totally ridiculous.’
    • ‘The legal system is skewed towards mothers and, as a result, some women abuse this for their own means, she claims.’
    biased, prejudiced, partisan, one-sided, slanted, skewed, coloured, interested, parti pris, discriminatory, preferential, jaundiced
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  • 3Statistics
    [with object] Cause (a distribution) to be asymmetrical.

    ‘the distributions were skewed to the right’
    • ‘Additional segregating alleles are not helpful if their frequency distribution is highly skewed.’
    • ‘The overall phenotype frequency distribution was positively skewed.’
    • ‘The age distribution was moderately skewed, with no outliers.’
    • ‘The statistical data show the weight distribution is a highly skewed right distribution.’
    • ‘The distributions are skewed, so the medians are better estimates of central tendency than the means are.’
    asymmetrical, unsymmetrical, uneven, unevenly balanced, unbalanced, off-balance, off-centre, unequal, askew, skew, skewed, squint, tilted, tilting, crooked, sloping, slanted, aslant, one-sided, out of true, out of line, to one side, awry
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  • on the skew

    • Neither parallel nor at right angles to a specified or implied line; askew.

      ‘the whole frame is on the skew’
      • ‘The fulcrum point on the skew is always the lower corner of the tool.’
      slanting, slanted, sloping, at an angle, angled, diagonal, aslant, slant, slantwise, sloped, inclined, inclining, tilted, tilting, atilt, skew, on the skew, askew
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Late Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘move obliquely’): shortening of Old Northern French eskiuwer, variant of Old French eschiver eschew. The adjective and noun (early 17th century) are from the verb.