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

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 Another West Hartford parent, Jenny Fischer, said the district’s transgender-inclusive curriculum has resulted in some awkward conversations with her three young children. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, 22 Nov. 2021 The controversy is politically awkward as the Chinese capital prepares to hold the Winter Olympics in February. NBC News, 18 Nov. 2021 Which really helps make up for the new official name, which is kind of awkward. Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2021 Proportions are awkward from some angles, limited rear-seat passenger space, pokier at the test track than key rivals. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 12 Nov. 2021 Meandering moments of walking, awkward conversations, and an unclear perception of how much time has passed between scenes could frustrate voters and critics alike. Clayton Davis, Variety, 11 Nov. 2021 Human resources can keep track of vaccinations and other health matters with the program to save both employees and managers time, and the avoidance of awkward conversations. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 1 Nov. 2021 There will be limo entrances, group and one-on-one dates, bad flirting, awkward conversations, rose ceremonies and maybe, but not likely, love. cleveland, 28 Oct. 2021 The government is also trying to step up coal supplies, although the timing is awkward with a global climate summit coming up in November in Glasgow. Yang Jie, WSJ, 12 Oct. 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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Dictionary Entries Near awkward

awk

awkward

awkward age

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Statistics for awkward

Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awkward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awkward. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for awkward

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on awkward

Nglish: Translation of awkward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awkward for Arabic Speakers

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