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Skew or skew lines lie on different planes. They are neither parallel nor intersecting.


  • In geometry, straight lines in a space referred to as skew if they are neither parallel nor intersecting.
  • In statistics, skew is sometimes used as an alternative term to skewness to refer to the degree of asymmetry of a distribution. It can mean distortion in a positive or negative direction.


Nte: Skew is usually interpreted to mean the difference in reading times between bits recorded on the tracks at the extremities, or edges, of the tape.

  • In facsimile systems, the angular deviation of the received frame from rectangularity caused by asynchronism between the scanner and the recorder.

Note: Skew is expressed numerically as the tangent of the deviation angle.

  • In facsimile, the angle between the scanning line, or recording line, and the perpendicular to the paper path.

Example of +1 degree (counter-clockwise) skew in a facsimile image. The red line is perfectly horizontal.

Source: from Federal Standard 1037C and from MIL-STD-188


  • In reference to computer disk drives, track-to-track skew is the angle between the start of the data on a given track and the start of the data on the next. This is important, as when reading the data in sequence from one track to the next, time must be allowed for the read/write head to move to the next track, during which the disk continues to rotate. Insufficient skew can force the drive to wait almost an entire revolution for the data to pass under the head again, resulting in extra revolutions per track to read the data. Excessive skew can also lower the sustained data transfer rate.

Computer graphics

Skew is a common term for the shear mapping.


In optics, a skew ray is an optical path through a rotationally symmetric optical system that is not in a plane of symmetry.


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