awkward

adjective
awk·​ward | \ ˈȯ-kwərd How to pronounce awkward (audio) \

Definition of awkward

1a : lacking dexterity or skill (as in the use of hands) I'm awkward with a needle and thread.
b : showing the result of a lack of expertness an awkward attempt awkward pictures
2a : lacking ease or grace (as of movement or expression) awkward writing
b : lacking the right proportions, size, or harmony of parts : ungainly an awkward design
3a : lacking social grace and assurance an awkward newcomer
b : causing embarrassment an awkward moment
4 : not easy to handle or deal with : requiring great skill, ingenuity, or care an awkward load an awkward diplomatic situation
5 obsolete : perverse
6 archaic : unfavorable, adverse

Other Words from awkward

awkwardly adverb
awkwardness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for awkward

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

Examples of awkward in a Sentence

I was electrified by what I learned in college. Still socially awkward, I had the bad habit of stopping strangers in the street to pour my heart out about the latest marvel I had learned. — Jaron Lanier, Curious Minds, (2004) 2005 Greene must have known that such men would not spill the beans about his irregular life or ask awkward questions, though Burgess famously teased him for being … a poseur, and was banished. — Paul Theroux, New York Times Book Review, 17 Oct. 2004 On the ground, vultures are hunched and awkward bundles of feathers, but in the air, where I watch them during much of the day, they are magnificent graceful soarers. Words From the Land, Stephen Trimble, editor, 1988 She is awkward at dancing. He had large feet and his walk was awkward and ungainly. The story contained some awkward writing. She is an awkward writer. The machine is very awkward to operate. I often find myself in awkward situations. He was put in the awkward position of having to write the memo. There was an awkward pause in the conversation. He feels awkward with strangers.
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Recent Examples on the Web Some are awkward, uncomfortable and don’t want to ask to go to the bathroom. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Oct. 2021 The fact the Chargers played there for two years while SoFi Stadium was being built had to have been awkward. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Sep. 2021 That might have helped avert potentially awkward conversations on topics such as the post-Michael Madigan era restructuring of the Illinois Democratic Party. Dan Petrella, chicagotribune.com, 18 Aug. 2021 One of the most prolific posters, American rugby star Ilona Maher, has joked about everything from awkward conversations with other athletes to the Olympic Village dining hall. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, 28 July 2021 Others have come by asking for advice, which Stucky admits puts him in an awkward position. Nicholas Schmidl, The New Yorker, 1 Sep. 2021 Walking through the Long Branch center one recent afternoon, Sinclair-Smith said the county had placed the shelter in an awkward position by failing to provide a permanent location pre-pandemic and relying on the community center for so long. Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2021 But the prominent lawyer is still in an awkward position. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Aug. 2021 And then here, Diane is in this very awkward position. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 29 July 2021

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

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First Known Use of awkward

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for awkward

Middle English awkeward in the wrong direction, from awke turned the wrong way, from Old Norse ǫfugr; akin to Old High German abuh turned the wrong way

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Time Traveler for awkward

Time Traveler

The first known use of awkward was in 1530

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Dictionary Entries Near awkward

awk

awkward

awkward age

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Statistics for awkward

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Awkward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awkward. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for awkward

awkward

adjective
awk·​ward | \ ˈȯ-kwərd How to pronounce awkward (audio) \

Kids Definition of awkward

1 : not graceful : clumsy an awkward dancer
2 : likely to embarrass an awkward question
3 : difficult to use or handle awkward tools

Other Words from awkward

awkwardly adverb
awkwardness noun After a moment of awkwardness, I remembered who she was.

More from Merriam-Webster on awkward

Nglish: Translation of awkward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of awkward for Arabic Speakers

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