Thesaurus

inept

Synonyms and Antonyms of inept

1 lacking qualities (as knowledge, skill, or ability) required to do a job

  • a well-meaning but inept secretary who can't seem to keep the boss's appointments straight
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2 not appropriate for a particular occasion or situation

  • an inept comparison between nursing-home residents and day-care children that many found offensive
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out of place, out of the way

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3 showing or marked by a lack of skill and tact (as in dealing with a situation)

  • an inept effort to become friends with their future son-in-law
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4 showing or marked by a lack of good sense or judgment

  • she offers one inept suggestion after another for saving the parish church
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out to lunch

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Synonym Discussion of inept

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


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