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 inept in a Sentence
Not only does the post have a narrow mandate, covering such sexy subjects as nuclear waste and solar energy, but the secretary presides over the most inept bureaucrats in the land.— Franklin Foer, New Republic, 3 July 2000The real hackers have an understanding of technology at a basic level. … The rest are talentless poseurs and hangers-on, either completely inept or basic criminals.— Bruce Schneier, Secrets & Lies, 2000To Cornelius, the White House travel office must have seemed—as it would have to any of the others who had served on the tight ship of the campaign's travel operation—an appallingly inept … operation.— Peter J. Boyer, New Yorker, 15 Apr. 1996
He was completely inept at sports.
He made an inept attempt to apologize.
Recent Examples on the WebThe Flyers looked almost as inept as the defending Stanley Cup champions did in all but Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Gene Myers, Detroit Free Press, 1 June 2022 The Celtics took off from there, their run eventually growing to 24-2, the Heat nearly as inept as their 18-1 start to Monday night’s Game 4 loss in Boston.
Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 26 May 2022 As the big boss’s daughter, inept and entitled at every turn, Kayla embodies Hollywood nepotism.
Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 25 May 2022 It should be noted the talents of the two young newcomers are perfectly sound, in fact, Webb’s raw innocence and matured understanding of his standing in a racially inept world, are incredibly rich, even if the messaging can be worrisome.
Clayton Davis, Variety, 20 May 2022 State media has also been playing on a popular perception in Russia that Ukraine is under the yoke of corrupt and inept leadership.
Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, 1 May 2022 For every inept, violent Roland Pryzbylewski, there was a Lester Freamon, practicing the patient craft of building a case.
James Poniewozik, New York Times, 24 Apr. 2022 Though GamerGate illustrated just how inept social media platforms were at protecting their users, Twitter’s prompt action served as an early example of the company’s relative willingness to address criticism and work to tamp down on abuse, Wu said.
Suhauna Hussain And Brian Contreras, Anchorage Daily News, 28 Apr. 2022 Though Gamergate illustrated just how inept social media platforms were at protecting their users, Twitter’s prompt action served as an early example of the company’s relative willingness to address criticism and work to tamp down on abuse, Wu said.
Suhauna Hussain, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2022 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inept.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.