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
3a : lacking social grace and assurance an awkward newcomerb : 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
Examples of awkward in a Sentence
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
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
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.
Recent Examples of awkward from the Web
An interactive station also gives guests something to do with their hands during the potentially awkward arrival-time of any party.
The rule has been a longtime thorn in the side of Utah’s restaurant industry, which has complained that the barriers can be ugly and awkward, and point out that children can still see customers drinking alcohol.
The standoff has been awkward for the United States.
The awkward pairing of Airbnb sponsoring a conference hosted by its fiercest Florida critic comes largely thanks to the economics of the convention itself.
In the fifth, Kennedy committed an awkward throwing error, which led to two more Red Sox runs.
Meanwhile, Louis is at a bar with the guys and has an awkward heart-to-heart with Hannah's dad.
Miami U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has been getting trolled on social media after a cringe-worthy photo of his awkward attempt to embrace the much taller Ivanka Trump popped up on political websites.
When Congress wants not to get something done—like, say, tackle hot button legislation that could prove awkward for certain members even to vote on—its favorite trick is to run out the clock.
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 1530See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of awkward
AWKWARD Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of awkward for English Language Learners
: not graceful
: lacking skill
: difficult to use or handle
AWKWARD Defined for Kids
Definition of awkward for Students
1 : not graceful : clumsy an awkward dancer
2 : likely to embarrass an awkward question
3 : difficult to use or handle awkward tools
awkwardnessnoun After a moment of awkwardness, I remembered who she was.
Seen and Heard
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