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

After six months of isolation, Philip is awkward and hesitant to venture out. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 However, this story may make watching Friends on Netflix just a touch awkward for the couple. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "The One Where Sophie Turner Had A Plan To Date Matthew Perry — & Did Not Work Out," 8 June 2019 What was once a confused and awkward layout, with its combined living room, office, and dining room spaces, would be transformed into an area that is functional and attractive, with a smarter overall flow. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Best Room Wins," 7 June 2019 What to Write in a Wedding Card for a Parent The wedding of a parent might bring up some difficult emotions that can make card writing a bit awkward. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, "What to Write in a Wedding Card," 28 May 2019 During a marathon afternoon of court appearances on Tuesday, Mr. Avenatti played what was for him is an unusual and occasionally awkward role—that of criminal defendant. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "Avenatti Pleads Not Guilty to Criminal Charges in Manhattan," 28 May 2019 The model's bold reaction became internet gold and may have replaced the internet fame of her awkward crying face that went viral after the 2015 Gloden Globes. Fox News, "Chrissy Teigen addresses viral Emmys cringe-face meme: 'You guys are brutal'," 18 Sep. 2018 Depending on your situation, February 14 is either the most romantic or the most awkward day of the year. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "46 Valentine's Day Songs For Every Kind of Relationship," 25 Jan. 2019 But taken as a whole, the PlayStation Classic is a fascinating and refreshing look at a very specific and important time, offering not only some of the best early attempts at 3D, but also some of the most awkward. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "PlayStation Classic review: a journey through the exciting, awkward days of early 3D games," 27 Nov. 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

19 Jun 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

Comments on awkward

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