Difference Wiki

Askew vs. Skew: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 27, 2023
'Askew' means not in a straight or level position, while 'skew' is to cause something to be not straight or to distort a fact or idea.

Key Differences

'Askew' describes something that is physically misaligned or not in a straight line, like a picture hanging askew on the wall. 'Skew', on the other hand, refers to the act of making something not straight or to misrepresent.
'Askew' is often used to describe a slight deviation from the expected position or direction. In contrast, 'skew' can imply a more deliberate action of altering alignment or distorting information.
The term 'askew' is generally used in a more literal and physical sense. 'Skew', however, can be used in both a literal sense (skewing an object) and a figurative sense (skewing data).
'Askew' typically does not imply intention; it’s often used for things that are accidentally off-center. 'Skew' suggests an active change, whether it’s physically adjusting something’s position or figuratively altering facts.
'Askew' is descriptive of a state of being, indicating misalignment, while 'skew' is more about the action of causing misalignment or distortion.

Comparison Chart

Basic Meaning

Not in a straight or level position
To cause to be not straight or to distort


Descriptive, often accidental
Active, can be deliberate


Physical misalignment
Physical adjustment or distortion of information


A picture frame hanging askew
Skewing statistics to mislead


Generally neutral, slight misplacement
Can imply bias or manipulation

Askew and Skew Definitions


Not aligned or evenly arranged.
Her hat was askew, adding to her quirky look.


To cause to be not straight.
He skewed the picture to fit the frame.


Not in a straight or level position.
The painting was hanging askew on the wall.


To slant or place at an angle.
The architect skewed the axis of the building for visual effect.


Deviating from the expected.
His tie was askew, giving him a disheveled appearance.


To distort or misrepresent.
The report was skewed to favor one side.


Crooked or awry.
His glasses sat askew on his nose.


To bias or influence in a particular direction.
Her personal opinions skewed her judgment.


Out of line or off-center.
The door was installed slightly askew.


To twist or turn from a straight course.
The path skewed to the left through the forest.


To one side or out of proper alignment; awry
Rugs lying askew.


To turn or place at an angle
Skew the cutting edge of a plane.


Turned or twisted to one side.


To give a bias to; distort
The use of a limited sample skewed the findings of the study.


(figuratively) Untoward, unfavourable.


To take an oblique course or direction.


Tilted to one side.
He wore his hat askew


Awry; askance; asquint; oblique or obliquely; - sometimes indicating scorn, or contempt, or entry.


Turned or twisted toward one side;
A...youth with a gorgeous red necktie all awry
His wig was, as the British say, skew-whiff


Turned or twisted to one side;
Rugs lying askew
With his necktie twisted awry


Is askew always negative?

Not necessarily; it can be neutral, simply describing misalignment.

Can fashion use askew designs?

Yes, for a unique or offbeat look.

Is askew a common term in art?

Yes, especially when discussing alignment in composition.

Can skew have a positive connotation?

Rarely; it usually implies distortion or bias.

Can data be skewed intentionally?

Yes, data can be skewed to mislead or influence.

Is skewing always deliberate?

Often, but it can also happen accidentally.

Can a road be askew?

Yes, if it deviates from a straight path.

Is skew used in cooking?

Not typically, it’s more common in data and physical alignment contexts.

Do journalists skew information?

It can happen, usually implying bias or distortion.

How does skewing affect statistics?

It can misrepresent data, leading to incorrect conclusions.

Do advertisers skew messages?

They can, often to highlight positive aspects over negatives.

Can a building be built askew?

Yes, either intentionally for style or accidentally due to errors.

Is skew more common in data or physical objects?

It’s common in both, but used differently in each context.

Is askew used in photography?

Yes, to describe composition that’s off-center or tilted.

Can a person’s view be askew?

Metaphorically, yes, meaning off-center or unbalanced.

Can surveys be skewed?

Yes, through leading questions or selective sampling.

Does skew require correction?

If accuracy or fairness is important, yes.

Can askew be fixed?

Yes, by realigning to the correct position.

Can landscapes appear askew?

In photos or paintings, yes, due to perspective or angle.

Is askew ever used in a positive way?

Sometimes, to describe a charming or quirky misalignment.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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