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 While Christina admitted that working with Tarek was definitely awkward, the exes successfully made it through season 7 production of Flip or Flop. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About Christina Anstead and Tarek El Moussa's Relationship," 6 Nov. 2020 But getting stuck in a conversation with your boss about politics can be awkward. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "The rules of talking politics at work," 29 Oct. 2020 George and Beyler worried the encounter would be awkward. Washington Post, "A flawed investigation left Jason Lively behind bars for 15 years for a fire he didn’t set. He’s not alone.," 22 Oct. 2020 This is awkward, and my sound was off, creating another layer of disconnection. Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Womxn in Windows,’ a Chinatown video art show made for this moment," 14 Oct. 2020 Meanwhile, rules that are awkward for investors who take seriously concerns about corporate conduct are proliferating. The Economist, "No time for details Myanmar’s government makes life difficult for Western investors," 3 Oct. 2020 Because this is not your real partner in life, doing that is awkward. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The 57 Most Graphic and Gorgeous Sex Scenes on TV," 24 Sep. 2020 Learning the controls on a touch screen can be awkward. Jess Grey, Wired, "How to Play Xbox and PC Games on Your Android Phone," 16 Sep. 2020 This reveal comes less than a year after Star Wars brought back Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker in a way that felt awkward and far too sudden. Brendan Morrow, TheWeek, "The Mandalorian brings us a Star Wars return reveal that actually worked," 30 Oct. 2020

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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Learn More about awkward

Time Traveler for awkward

Time Traveler

The first known use of awkward was in 1530

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Statistics for awkward

Last Updated

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awkward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awkward. Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for awkward

awkward

adjective
How to pronounce awkward (audio)

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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