1610s, "set obliquely or aslant," past-participle adjective from skew (v.). In the sense of "distorted, shifted, turned aside" it is by 1895.
"skewbald, of mixed colors," early 15c., skued, skeued, a word of uncertain origin. It is said to be not from skew (v.), but Klein's sources say it is and Middle English Compendium offers that as a possibility; OED suggests it is perhaps from Old French escu "shield," but also notes a close resemblance in form and sense with Icelandic skjottr, "the history of which is equally obscure." Watkins says it is Scandinavian and akin to Old Norse sky "cloud" on the resemblance of the markings to cloud cover.
updated on December 01, 2022