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

At the 2018 event, Meghan's co-presenter seemed to misplace his papers, making for an awkward moment onstage. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Opted for a Givenchy Blouse and Skirt at the Endeavour Fund Awards," 7 Feb. 2019 Still, the sanctions have resulted in awkward moments, including Marquez’s absence during last month’s friendly against Wales, which ended in a draw. Kate Linthicum, latimes.com, "Mexico's World Cup star is accused of helping a drug lord," 15 June 2018 There was an awkward moment after the visiting judge handling the case, Guy Guckenberger, announced the verdicts. Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati.com, "Lockland man guilty of possessing Uzi-like automatic gun, silencer," 3 May 2018 William and Kate appeared to continue chuckling about the awkward silence once the program resumed. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Joke About the Awkward Silence During Their BAFTAs Entrance," 12 Feb. 2019 But naturally, their not-so-secret relationship came with some drama—including an awkward encounter with one of Will's exes, Carly Massy-Birch, in 2002. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Prince William Had an Awkward Dinner Party Moment with Kate Middleton and His Ex," 29 Nov. 2018 The film is legendary for its fly-on-the-wall, real-time documentation of the Rolling Stones in the studio cutting the title song, replete with awkward silences, stifling boredom—and thrilling creative breakthroughs. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "3 Newly Released Rock Documentaries Might Be Your Cup of Escapist Tea This Weekend," 28 Sep. 2018 To which West sat in extremely awkward silence, saved by Kimmel cutting to commercial. Evelyn Wang, Glamour, "Kanye West Says Having Daughters Hasn't Changed His Attitude Toward Women," 10 Aug. 2018 Check out the awkward encounter below: July 18, 2018: The couple just can't get enough of each other and decided to travel to Seattle, Washington together! They were spotted by a couple of fans in the area and even stopped to take photos with them. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's Relationship," 24 July 2018

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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Statistics for awkward

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for awkward

The first known use of awkward was in 1530

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on awkward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for awkward

Spanish Central: Translation of awkward

Nglish: Translation of awkward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awkward for Arabic Speakers

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