Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective gauche contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of gauche are awkward, clumsy, inept, and maladroit. While all these words mean "not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct)," gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding.

felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties

When is it sensible to use awkward instead of gauche?

The words awkward and gauche can be used in similar contexts, but awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact.

periods of awkward silence

Where would clumsy be a reasonable alternative to gauche?

The synonyms clumsy and gauche are sometimes interchangeable, but clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill.

a clumsy mechanic

When would inept be a good substitute for gauche?

While in some cases nearly identical to gauche, inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy.

a hopelessly inept defense attorney

In what contexts can maladroit take the place of gauche?

The words maladroit and gauche are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations.

a maladroit politician


Thesaurus Entries Near gauche

Cite this Entry

“Gauche.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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