Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective maladroit contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of maladroit are awkward, clumsy, gauche, and inept. While all these words mean "not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct)," maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations.

a maladroit politician

When might awkward be a better fit than maladroit?

The meanings of awkward and maladroit largely overlap; however, awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact.

periods of awkward silence

When would clumsy be a good substitute for maladroit?

While the synonyms clumsy and maladroit are close in meaning, clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill.

a clumsy mechanic

When is gauche a more appropriate choice than maladroit?

In some situations, the words gauche and maladroit are roughly equivalent. However, gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding.

felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties

Where would inept be a reasonable alternative to maladroit?

The synonyms inept and maladroit are sometimes interchangeable, but inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy.

a hopelessly inept defense attorney

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Cite this Entry

“Maladroit.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/maladroit. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

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