clumsy

adjective
clum·​sy | \ ˈkləm-zē How to pronounce clumsy (audio) \
clumsier; clumsiest

Definition of clumsy

1a : lacking dexterity, nimbleness, or grace clumsy fingers
b : lacking tact or subtlety a clumsy joke
2 : awkward or inefficient in use or construction : unwieldy a clumsy contraption criticized her sentence for its clumsy construction

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Other Words from clumsy

clumsily \ ˈkləm-​zə-​lē How to pronounce clumsily (audio) \ adverb
clumsiness \ ˈkləm-​zē-​nəs How to pronounce clumsiness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for clumsy

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 clumsy in a Sentence

I'm sorry about spilling your wine—that was very clumsy of me. I have very clumsy hands and tend to drop things. She made a clumsy attempt at a joke.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Like most of the Democratic establishment’s clumsy, heavy-handed moves, the attack on the slightly-more-liberal Democrat Moser seems to have completely backfired. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "The anti-Trump resistance hits a wall: The Democratic Party establishment | Will Bunch," 1 Mar. 2018 The book is beautifully illustrated with simple line drawings to help even the most clumsy camper, climber or sailor to master any number of handy knots. Claire Cock-starkey, WSJ, "What to Give: Reference Books," 15 Nov. 2018 Too clumsy to be featured in the circus elephant act, he is made into a clown instead. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New trailer for Disney’s live-action Dumbo captures magic of original," 15 Nov. 2018 And for those who are a bit clumsier, dishes are less likely to shatter when dropped on wood versus stone. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Butcher-Block Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know," 15 Jan. 2019 Juventus sabotaged itself in the quarterfinals with a clumsy tackle that rewarded Real with a last-second penalty kick. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Real Madrid Tops Liverpool in Champions League Final," 26 May 2018 Big, clumsy stone axes known as Acheulean tools disappear and instead the archeologists found finer, lighter and more varied tools. NBC News, "Did climate change help modern humans emerge?," 15 Mar. 2018 Guiding the clumsy flatboats calls for expert navigation. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019 The seemingly clumsy cover-up of the killing has been exposed to the world via Turkish leaks of information, security camera footage and Saudi acknowledgments that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the consulate. Aya Batrawy, The Seattle Times, "Saudi Arabia again changes its story on Khashoggi killing," 25 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clumsy.' 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 clumsy

circa 1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clumsy

probably from obsolete English clumse benumbed with cold

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Statistics for clumsy

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clumsy

The first known use of clumsy was circa 1598

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More Definitions for clumsy

clumsy

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of clumsy

: moving or doing things in a very awkward way and tending to drop or break things
: badly or awkwardly made or done
: hard to use : awkward to handle

clumsy

adjective
clum·​sy | \ ˈkləm-zē How to pronounce clumsy (audio) \
clumsier; clumsiest

Kids Definition of clumsy

1 : lacking skill or grace in movement clumsy fingers
2 : awkwardly or carelessly made or done a clumsy apology a clumsy error
3 : awkward to handle a clumsy package

Other Words from clumsy

clumsily \ -​zə-​lē \ adverb
clumsiness \ -​zē-​nəs \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on clumsy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clumsy

Spanish Central: Translation of clumsy

Nglish: Translation of clumsy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clumsy for Arabic Speakers

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