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

And Holland continues to earn his Spidey stripes with his delicate, teenaged juggle of excited and awkward, in spite of this outing taking his character in some boring directions. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man: Far from Home," 1 July 2019 The timing, however, is a little awkward, with Teague’s name having been mentioned in trade rumors throughout the offseason. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Timberwolves agree to one year deal with Jordan Bell," 1 July 2019 Exercise equipment is heavy and awkward to carry, and difficult to take apart and put back together. Melissa Rolland, courant.com, "The Unexpected Costs Of Moving," 26 June 2019 And in The Paper Wasp, by Lauren Acampora, an awkward, solitary aspiring filmmaker languishes in her Michigan hometown, gazing from afar at the much shinier life of her childhood best friend turned Hollywood ingenue. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Female Friendships Are the Best, Until They Aren't," 20 June 2019 Its star-studded, 15-minute episodes are centered on sketches about ordinary life situations that spin out of control and veer into excruciatingly awkward, unexpectly hilarious territory. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Netflix renews sketch comedy show from 'Detroiters' star Tim Robinson," 20 June 2019 This turn of events is just a little awkward, to say the least. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coach Adam Levine Got a Lot of Attention for His Passionate Speech Last Night," 14 May 2019 For comparison, here's the original: This fight scene has often been derided as boring, awkward, and unfitting a Star Wars franchise that would eventually have an evil cyborg who could wield four lightsabers simultaneously. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "This Reimagined Star Wars Fight Scene Is Amazing—but Mostly Makes Me Sad," 8 May 2019 The German system sets up an awkward situation: The taxes of people who forgo college help pay for the education of those who attend. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "Bernie Sanders and other Democrats are embracing free college. Europe shows there’s a cost.," 25 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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Statistics for awkward

Last Updated

17 Jul 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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