: not easily managed, handled, or used (as because of bulk, weight, complexity, or awkwardness) : cumbersome
The futon mattress was heavy and unwieldy, and the only effective way to move it was to slide it across the floor.
"In the U.S., unwieldy, multimillion-dollar sports businesses are housed in universities. The danger occurs when a school's prestige, psyche and fundraising come to rely on its football team instead of just being enhanced by it." - From an article by Sean Gregory in Time, November 21, 2011
Did You Know?
The verb "to wield" means "to handle or exert something effectively." A carpenter might wield a hammer with impressive dexterity, for example, or a talented orator might wield influence over an audience of listeners. Something that is "wieldy" is capable of being wielded easily, and while that adjective may not be particularly common, its antonym "unwieldy" finds ample use to describe anything that is awkward to handle, move, or manage. "Wield" and its relatives all derive via Middle English from Old English "wieldan," meaning "to control."
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "unwieldy": ugil. The answer is ...