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 Instead, those moments were awkward, the opposite of pampering and certainly not relaxing. Baze Mpinja, Allure, "The Unbearable Whiteness of Hollywood's Hair and Makeup Crews," 24 Apr. 2021 The idea of defining cuisines by country is awkward, imprecise at best. Jessica Dupuy, Forbes, "Summer Cooking Begins With Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean," 21 Apr. 2021 Britain is in the middle of eight days of national mourning, which is awkward, as after 100 days of national lockdown, the pubs began outdoor service on Monday. Washington Post, "Prince Harry returns to bury his grandfather — and some hope to heal rifts with the British royal family," 12 Apr. 2021 Learning to be an aesthete in middle age, as Nemerov has, is like taking tango lessons in your fifties: the spirit is admirable, but the moves are awkward. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Helen Frankenthaler and the Messy Art of Life," 5 Apr. 2021 As if interrupting a man whose spontaneous desire is prompting him to remove your clothes or penetrate you is not awkward for women who have spent their entire lives being socialized not to upset or disappoint people. New York Times, "I Spent My Life Consenting to Touch I Didn’t Want," 31 Mar. 2021 Early in the season, her time-fillers were awkward. Lynette Rice, EW.com, "Dancing With the Stars will return for a milestone 30th season," 30 Mar. 2021 Yes, re-enactments in documentaries often are awkward at best, stupid and disruptive at worst. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Compelling Netflix documentary explores college admissions scandal," 19 Mar. 2021 Yes, reenactments in documentaries often are awkward at best, stupid and disruptive at worst. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "The college admissions scandal went deeper than celebs. 'Operation Varsity Blues' dives in," 17 Mar. 2021

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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awkward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awkward. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on awkward

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