Definition of agley in US English:



  • Askew; awry.

    • ‘Sometimes we fail simply because we are poor, dumb, fallible, feckless human beings whose best-laid schemes gang aft agley.’
    • ‘For once, the best-laid economic plans of the meticulous Chancellor of the Exchequer went agley.’
    • ‘The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.’
    • ‘This is what the stretcher guy was planning on happening, but as the poet Burns is wont to say, the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley (well, he's dead now, but he did used to say it).’
    • ‘A delightful event, but things gang aft agley when a certain mayor cracks wise about a certain nation's reputation for thriftiness and predilection for men in ‘skirts.’’
    lopsided, unsymmetrical, crooked
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: from a- ‘on’ + Scots gley ‘squint’, of unknown origin.