Other forms: awkwardest; awkwarder

If you are awkward, chances are you are uncomfortable. You could feel socially awkward, like when you forget the host's name. Or, you may feel physically awkward, like when you trip on your way to the podium.

Have you ever felt clumsy and that you had two left feet? That is how it is to feel awkward — literally that you are going in the wrong direction. Awkward is an example of a word literally meaning something and then figuratively meaning something related. Its Middle English roots are awke, meaning "backhanded," and -ward, to "go in the direction of." So, if you are feeling uncomfortable, or clumsy, it's probably because your hands are connected to you the wrong way!

Definitions of awkward
  1. adjective
    lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance
    “an awkward dancer”
    “an awkward gesture”
    “too awkward with a needle to make her own clothes”
    “his clumsy fingers produced an awkward knot”
    not adroit
    displeasing to the senses
    clumsy, clunky, gawky, ungainly, unwieldy
    lacking grace in movement or posture
    graceless, ungraceful
    lacking grace; clumsy
    labored, laboured, stilted, strained
    lacking natural ease
    lacking ease or grace
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    characterized by beauty of movement, style, form, or execution
    delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration
    refined and tasteful in appearance or behavior or style
    displaying effortless beauty and simplicity in movement or execution
    fluent, fluid, liquid, smooth
    smooth and unconstrained in movement
    graceful and pleasing
    gracile, willowy
    slender and graceful
    lissom, lissome, lithe, lithesome, slender, supple, svelte, sylphlike
    moving and bending with ease
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  2. adjective
    not elegant or graceful in expression
    “an awkward prose style”
    synonyms: clumsy, cumbersome, ill-chosen, inapt, inept
    not appropriate in application; defective
  3. adjective
    socially uncomfortable; unsure and constrained in manner
    awkward and reserved at parties”
    synonyms: ill at ease, uneasy
    conducive to or feeling mental discomfort
  4. adjective
    difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape
    “an awkward bundle to carry”
    synonyms: bunglesome, clumsy, ungainly
    unmanageable, unwieldy
    difficult to use or handle or manage because of size or weight or shape
  5. adjective
    hard to deal with; especially causing pain or embarrassment
    awkward (or embarrassing or difficult) moments in the discussion”
    “an awkward pause followed his remark”
    synonyms: embarrassing, sticky, unenviable
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
  6. adjective
    causing inconvenience
    “they arrived at an awkward time”
    not suited to your comfort, purpose or needs




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘awkward'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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