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 The relationship between Britain's royals and the media is awkward, mistrustful — and seemingly inescapable. Danica Kirka, Anchorage Daily News, "With ‘Megxit,’ Prince Harry and Meghan aim to control their media image," 9 Jan. 2020 Ricky Gervais asks Mel Gibson for some clarity (2016) (Video is NSFW) This was extraordinarily awkward, and probably flew under the radar for a lot of people because of the censor’s quick fingers. Alex Heigl, PEOPLE.com, "14 of the Wildest, Most Memorable Golden Globe Awards Moments Ever," 30 Dec. 2019 Both women are indigenous; but where Aila is willowy and elegantly dressed, Rosie is stocky and awkward, her pregnant body wrapped in mismatched clothing and her hair clotted over the bruises left by her boyfriend’s knuckles. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "‘The Body Remembers’ Review: One Prospers, the Other Doesn’t," 28 Nov. 2019 Mr Modi’s stilted English may be awkward, but his aura of confidence declares the arrival of a bolder, stronger country. The Economist, "IndiaIndia is stumbling because of its prime minister’s failure to curb his darker side," 24 Oct. 2019 Played with compellingly comic manic energy by Adam Niemann, vice principal Ricky is anxious and awkward, weak-willed and desperate to please in a way that’s terribly off-putting to everybody around him. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: No easy answers for a doomed school in ‘Exit Strategy’ in Berkeley," 10 Sep. 2019 But that awkward and sometimes daring experience is what Hulu is deciding to bring to the small screen in their newest series Dollface, set to premiere this fall. Bianca Betancourt, Teen Vogue, "Kat Dennings, Shay Mitchell, and Brenda Song Star in "Dollface" Hulu's Comedy About Female Friendships," 10 Sep. 2019 Some guys are awkward at that age and with that length. Adam Lichtenstein, sun-sentinel.com, "McArthur’s Damien Alford ready to begin first football season in the United States," 29 July 2019 Their courtship is awkward, but the purity and sweetness of it sneaks up on you, so bring a tissue. Joey Morona, cleveland.com, "Why ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is the antidote for Marvel fatigue," 27 June 2019

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Awkward.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awkward. Accessed 17 January 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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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

Comments on awkward

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