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

Twitter responded to Gendry's awkward proposal with the best memes, as always. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gendry Really Tried to Shoot His Shot on Game of Thrones," 6 May 2019 Of course, this awkward encounter forces Meredith to address her relationship status with DeLuca. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Grey's Anatomy' Fans Are EXPLODING Over What Happened With Jo and Alex," 19 Apr. 2019 And one time, a particular political candidate marching with his entourage was forced into a bit of an awkward pause. The Kansas City Star, kansascity, "Train through July 4 parade separates this Kansas candidate from his delegation," 5 July 2018 One brand might boast a curved design to make the experience of peeing on a stick slightly more ergonomic and less awkward. Shelby Pope, Allure, "Are Cheap Home Pregnancy Tests Just as Accurate as the Expensive Ones?," 12 Mar. 2019 Even more modern models are heavy and awkward to move around, like the kind that resemble radiators on wheels. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "Yes, Attractive Space Heaters Actually Exist," 1 Feb. 2019 This year, John Graham appeared on The Bachelorette, wowing the audience with his ability to be both eligible and awkward. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Behold: The Bachelor Unicorns — The Perfect Contestants Who Came & Went," 9 July 2018 In total, the show had upwards of 20 artists taking the stage to perform disjointed sets over their own vocals, with unusually long and awkward multi-syllabic call and responses chants. Marcel Friday, Billboard, "Los Angeles Shows Up to See 03 Greedo One Last Time at Globe Theatre Event," 18 June 2018 As directed by Megan Nicole O’Brien, Big Red Sun’s schematic and awkward book (by John Jiler, who also wrote the serviceable lyrics) is mostly an excuse for composer Georgia Stitt’s amiable ramble through 20th-century American musical styles. Julia M. Klein, Philly.com, "'Big Red Sun': Search through history and music for truth about father, self," 5 June 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

22 May 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

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