Definition of skew-whiff

Britishinformalnot straight askew, a slightly skew-whiff door—often used figuratively. Their plans went a little skew-whiff.

Here in the US we tend to use “awry.” I guess I have to go back to another memory of my mother. She was very educated and a constant reader. So, when in a class at the University of Chicago, she used the word awry but pronounced it “aw-ree.” There was silence in the class. She repeated what she had said, not comprehending the strange looks on the faces of her fellows. The professor stopped and politely pronounced awry like “a-wry,” suggesting gently that that was what no doubt she had intended to say. So I guess her comment went skew-whiff.


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