Definition of maladroit
- The governor has been criticized for his maladroit handling of the budget crisis.
The governor has been criticized for his maladroit handling of the budget crisis.
some maladroit steering on her part caused the bicycle to go crashing into the bushes
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To understand the origin of "maladroit," you need to put together some Middle French and Old French building blocks. The first is the word mal, meaning "bad," and the second is the phrase a droit, meaning "properly." You can parse the phrase even further into the components a, meaning "to" or "at," and droit, meaning "right, direct, or straight." Middle French speakers put those pieces together as "maladroit" to describe the clumsy among them, and English speakers borrowed the word intact back in the 17th century. Its opposite, of course, is "adroit," which we adopted from the French in the same century.
First Known Use: 1685See Words from the same year
: very awkward : not skillful or adroit
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