Simple Definition of maladroit
: very awkward : not skillful or adroit
Full Definition of maladroit
: lacking adroitness : inept
Examples of maladroit in a sentence
The governor has been criticized for his maladroit handling of the budget crisis.
<some maladroit steering on her part caused the bicycle to go crashing into the bushes>
Did You Know?
To understand the origin of "maladroit," you need to put together some Middle French and Old French building blocks. The first is the word mal, meaning "bad," and the second is the phrase a droit, meaning "properly." You can parse the phrase even further into the components a, meaning "to" or "at," and droit, meaning "right, direct, or straight." Middle French speakers put those pieces together as "maladroit" to describe the clumsy among them, and English speakers borrowed the word intact back in the 17th century. Its opposite, of course, is "adroit," which we adopted from the French in the same century.
Origin of maladroit
French, from Middle French, from mal- + adroit
First Known Use: 1685
Synonym Discussion of maladroit
Rhymes with maladroit
Learn More about maladroit
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for "maladroit"
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up maladroit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).