maladroit

play
adjective mal·adroit \ ˌma-lə-ˈdrȯit \

Definition of maladroit

:lacking adroitness :inept
  • The governor has been criticized for his maladroit handling of the budget crisis.

maladroitly

adverb

maladroitness

noun

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Examples of maladroit in a Sentence

  1. The governor has been criticized for his maladroit handling of the budget crisis.

  2. some maladroit steering on her part caused the bicycle to go crashing into the bushes

Recent Examples of maladroit from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'maladroit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

maladroit Comes From Old and Middle French

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.

Origin and Etymology of maladroit

French, from Middle French, from mal- + adroit

Synonym Discussion of maladroit

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

MALADROIT Defined for English Language Learners

maladroit

play
adjective

Definition of maladroit for English Language Learners

  • : very awkward : not skillful or adroit



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