awkward

adjective
awk·​ward | \ ˈȯ-kwərd How to pronounce awkward (audio) \

Definition of awkward

1a : lacking dexterity or skill (as in the use of hands) I'm awkward with a needle and thread.
b : showing the result of a lack of expertness an awkward attempt awkward pictures
2a : lacking ease or grace (as of movement or expression) awkward writing
b : lacking the right proportions, size, or harmony of parts : ungainly an awkward design
3a : lacking social grace and assurance an awkward newcomer
b : causing embarrassment an awkward moment
4 : not easy to handle or deal with : requiring great skill, ingenuity, or care an awkward load an awkward diplomatic situation
5 obsolete : perverse
6 archaic : unfavorable, adverse

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Other Words from awkward

awkwardly adverb
awkwardness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for awkward

awkward, clumsy, maladroit, inept, gauche mean not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct). awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact. periods of awkward silence clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill. a clumsy mechanic maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations. a maladroit politician inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy. a hopelessly inept defense attorney gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding. felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties

Examples of awkward in a Sentence

I was electrified by what I learned in college. Still socially awkward, I had the bad habit of stopping strangers in the street to pour my heart out about the latest marvel I had learned. — Jaron Lanier, Curious Minds, (2004) 2005 Greene must have known that such men would not spill the beans about his irregular life or ask awkward questions, though Burgess famously teased him for being … a poseur, and was banished. — Paul Theroux, New York Times Book Review, 17 Oct. 2004 On the ground, vultures are hunched and awkward bundles of feathers, but in the air, where I watch them during much of the day, they are magnificent graceful soarers. Words From the Land, Stephen Trimble, editor, 1988 She is awkward at dancing. He had large feet and his walk was awkward and ungainly. The story contained some awkward writing. She is an awkward writer. The machine is very awkward to operate. I often find myself in awkward situations. He was put in the awkward position of having to write the memo. There was an awkward pause in the conversation. He feels awkward with strangers.
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Recent Examples on the Web And watching the playback with three friends was awkward. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Billie Eilish Talks 'Blurry' Doc, James Bond and New Album: 'I Pull Some Tricks Out'," 24 Feb. 2021 While few people look askance when someone turns down a cigarette or discusses a new diet, confessing to giving up alcohol is awkward. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Dry January is over. Or is it?," 9 Feb. 2021 Justin Bieber is a pro at staying stoic in the face of truly awkward interactions. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Ellen Degeneres' Most Recent Interview with Justin Bieber is Extremely Cringe-Worthy," 1 Dec. 2020 Their many awkward interactions give way to a meta noir detective story with all the actors playing different roles that subtly hints at the town's shady underbelly. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "All the best movies we saw at New York Film Festival, ranked (including Steve McQueen's 'Lovers Rock')," 18 Sep. 2020 This awkward transition was followed by an NFL promo in which an actor playing Vince Lombardi walked through the streets of America, delivering inspirational words. Sean Gregory, Time, "The Pandemic Super Bowl, Naturally, Was Rough To Watch," 8 Feb. 2021 Over at the mega mansion, Kate is still having fun flirting with Travis and leaves him a bunch of awkward phone messages. Rachel Paige, refinery29.com, "R29 Recaps: Every Episode From Firefly Lane Season 1," 8 Feb. 2021 After an awkward encounter with Kenan Thompson, Levy runs into his dad, Eugene Levy, who’s sadly trapped in an isolation box. Charu Sinha, Vulture, "Eugene Levy Is Trapped in a Box in Dan Levy’s SNL Monologue," 7 Feb. 2021 If Fishing With John was, in vaudeville terms, a two-hander, relying on the awkward interplay between Lurie and his guest, Painting With John is mostly a one-man show. John Semley, The New Republic, "Painting With John Perfects the Art of Instruction," 5 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'awkward.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of awkward

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for awkward

Middle English awkeward in the wrong direction, from awke turned the wrong way, from Old Norse ǫfugr; akin to Old High German abuh turned the wrong way

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Time Traveler for awkward

Time Traveler

The first known use of awkward was in 1530

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Statistics for awkward

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awkward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awkward. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for awkward

awkward

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of awkward

: not graceful
: lacking skill
: difficult to use or handle

awkward

adjective
awk·​ward | \ ˈȯ-kwərd How to pronounce awkward (audio) \

Kids Definition of awkward

1 : not graceful : clumsy an awkward dancer
2 : likely to embarrass an awkward question
3 : difficult to use or handle awkward tools

Other Words from awkward

awkwardly adverb
awkwardness noun After a moment of awkwardness, I remembered who she was.

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Comments on awkward

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