Eschew - Hard to Say

Pronunciation | Listenings | Vocabulary


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The word eschew is a hard word to spell and to pronounce. In this lesson I’ll tell you what eschew means, show you how to pronounce it with a standard British English accent, and give you some examples of its use. I’ll also look at other vocabulary of refusal or acceptance such as abandon, abjure, avoid, disdain, embrace, eschew, forego, forswear, give up, grab, grasp, hold, keep clear of, refrain from, renounce, repudiate, seize, shun, spurn, take hold of, and welcome. You can also practice your knowledge of the IPA symbols and pronunciation with some IPA transcriptions of these verbs of refusal or acceptance.

From The OED on CD-ROM

eschew, v.1 (ɛsˈtʃuː) 

Forms: 4–6 escheve (? escheue), eschewe, (4 ech-, esshue, etchewe, isschewe, 4–5 eschef, eschiewe, -uwe, eþchewe, 5 escheu, eshew, 6 escue, estchue, as-, estew(e, -iew), exchew(e, (4 exschew, 6 exchue, -tue), 4–7 eschu(e, 4– eschew. 

[a. OF. eschiver, eschever (also in other conjugations, as eschevoir, eschivir, eschivre), corresp. to Pr., Sp., Pg. esquivar, It. schivare (whence prob. mod.F. esquiver to dodge, the retention of the s being otherwise anomalous):—Common Romanic *skivāre, f. *skivo: see prec.; cf. OHG. sciuhen, MHG. schiuhen, schiuwen, mod.Ger. scheuen to dread, avoid, shun; also Eng. shy v.] 

1.1 trans. To avoid, shun. †a.1.a To avoid, keep clear of, escape (a danger or inconvenience). Rarely with clause as obj. 

   c 1375 Sc. Leg. Saints, Mathias 205 [A sone] þat scho, til eschewe destiny, Ine a cophyne kest ine þe se.    c 1460 Fortescue Abs. & Lim. Mon. (1714) 105 To eschewe thees two Harmes, hyt may than be advised, etc.    1514 Barclay Cyt. & Uplondyshm. (Percy Soc.) 1 Pastoures‥drawe to cotes for to eschewe the colde.    1526 Tindale 2 Cor. viii. 20 Thus we eschue thatt eny man shulde rebuke us in this aboundance.    c 1530 Ld. Berners Arth. Lyt. Bryt. (1814) 17 To exchewe therby the displeasure of my lorde.    1598 Shakes. Merry W. v. v. 251 What cannot be eschew'd, must be embrac'd.    1671 J. Webster Metallogr. iv. 61 To eschew tediosness, [I] shall transcribe what Dr. Jorden hath written.    1721 St. German's Doctor & Stud. 60 To eschew that in⁓convenience that Statute was made.

†b.1.b To ‘fight shy of’, avoid (a place); to stand aloof from (a person). Obs. 

   1377 Langl. P. Pl. B. vi. 55 Suche men eschue.    1413 Lydg. Pilgr. Sowle iv. iii. (1483) 59 The quene of Saba‥eshewed it [that brydge] and took another wey.    c 1450 Castle Hd. Life St. Cuthbert (Surtees) 160 Fra þen forthe sho forhewed Þe kynges presence, and it eschewed.    1553 T. Wilson Rhet. 2 Beware‥of straunge woordes, as thou wouldest take hede and eschewe greate rockes in the sea.    1621 Burton Anat. Mel. iii. ii. vi. iii. (1651) 564 A woman a man may eschue, but not a wife.

c.1.c To abstain carefully from, avoid, shun (an action, a course of conduct, an indulgence, an article of food or drink, etc.). The current sense: †Formerly with obj.-inf. preceded by to.

   Johnson 1755 notes the word as ‘almost obsolete’; it is now not uncommon in literary use. 

   1340–70 Alex. & Dind. 1001 But al þat badde is for a burn here abouen erþe, Huo so haþ chaunce to echue & chese the betture.    c 1375 Lay Folks Mass-bk. (MS. B.) 358 Gyue me grace for to etchewe to do þat þing þat me shuld rewe.    1388 Wyclif 2 Tim. ii. 16 Eschewe thou vnhooli and veyn spechis.    c 1450 Myrc 28 Grete othes thow moste enchewe.    1509 Hawes Joyful Medit. 20 They may extue For to do wronge.    1535 Coverdale Ps. xvii. 23, I‥will eschue myne owne wickednes.    1637 Earl Stirling Doomesday 9th Hour (R.), These curious doubts which good men doe eschew Make many atheists.    1656 Ridgley Pract. Physick 22 Fat things must be eschewed.    a 1707 Beveridge Serm. II. lxxxiii. (R.), They must not only eschew evil but do good in the world.    1801 Wordsw. Cuckoo & Night. xxiii, For every wight eschews thy song to hear.    1848 Thackeray Van. Fair xlv, He has already eschewed green coats, red neckcloths, and other worldly ornaments.    1855 Macaulay Hist. Eng. IV. 693 Observers‥thought that capitalists would eschew all connection with what must necessarily be a losing concern.    1876 Blackie Songs Relig. & Life 228 Eschew the cavilling critic's art, The lust of loud reproving.

absol.    1621 Burton Anat. Mel. i. i. ii. viii. (1651) 25 The power to prosecute or eschue.

†2.2 intr. To get off, escape. Obs. 

   1375 Barbour Bruce xi. 391 Thai sall nocht weill eschew foroutyn fall.    c 1450 Castle Hd. MS. Life St. Cuthb. (Surtees) 2525 And þat he couet to eschew.    1560 Rolland Crt. Venus iv. 441 Grant him his life‥And I promit‥That he sall not eschew away, nor fle.

†3.3 trans. To rescue. Obs. rare. [So Fr. eschiver.] 

   c 1500 Melusine 170 Þey recouered there six of theire galeyes, & eschiewed þem fro the fyre.

Hence esˈchewal, an eschewing, a keeping clear of (evil). esˈchewance, the action of eschewing; avoidance. esˈchewer, one who eschews, avoids, shuns. esˈchewing vbl. n., the action of the vb. eschew in various senses. esˈchewment, the action of eschewing. 

   1583 Babington Commandm. vii. (1590) 278 Things which keepe chastitie vncorrupted‥sobrietie, labour‥& *eschewall [ed. 1637 eschewing] of oportunitie.    1656 Jeanes Mixt. Scho. Div. 22 The bare eschewall of an evill is sufficient for the denomination of feare.    1841 G. S. Faber Prov. Lett. (1844) I. 182 The convenient negative process of an eschewal of all cross-questioning.

   1842 James Morley Ernstein xv, With that careful *eschewance of all listening ears‥that gentleman remained bowing in silence till the waiter was out of the room.

   1578 Ch. Prayers in Priv. Prayers (1851) 460 Give them such judges, as are‥*eschewers of all partiality.    1621 Dk. Buckhm. in Life Bacon xxii. (1861) 501 A messenger of good news to you and an eschewer of evil.    1825 Coleridge Aids Refl. (1848) I. 188 These eschewers of mystery.

   c 1374 Chaucer Boeth. iii. xi. 99 The ferme stablenesse of pedurable dwellynge and ek the *eschuynge of destruccyoun.    1563 in Vicary's Anat. (1888) App. iii. 164 Theschuynge of the greate Daunger & perill of the‥plage.

   1864 Webster, *Eschewment (rare).

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