Word of the Day : April 9, 2018


adjective mal-uh-DROYT


: lacking skill, cleverness, or resourcefulness in handling situations : inept

Did You Know?

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.


Any project, however carefully planned, is doomed to fail under maladroit management.

"[Lucy Atkins'] tale of a high-flying television historian entangled with a socially maladroit and manipulative 60-something housekeeper is smart and horrifying in equal measure." — Geordie Williamson, The Australian, 16 Dec. 2017

Name That Antonym

Fill in the blanks to complete an antonym of maladroit: _ e _ t _ ro _ _.



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!