If you see an unwieldy person coming down the aisle of the bus with an unwieldy box, you may want to step aside because that's a double dose of clumsy. It's an awkward person carrying a box that is difficult to manage.

Something that is wieldy is easy to control or handle, so something unwieldy is not. However, the un- form of the word is much more common. The base word wieldy has its roots in Old English, meaning "to handle or control" — used usually in reference to a weapon. You would not want an unwieldy person attempting to wield an unwieldy sword!

Definitions of unwieldy
  1. adjective
    difficult to use or handle or manage because of size or weight or shape
    “we set about towing the unwieldy structure into the shelter”
    “almost dropped the unwieldy parcel”
    synonyms: unmanageable
    awkward, bunglesome, clumsy, ungainly
    difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape
    cumbersome, cumbrous
    difficult to handle or use especially because of size or weight
    see moresee less
    easy to handle or use or manage
  2. adjective
    lacking grace in movement or posture
    “heaved his unwieldy figure out of his chair”
    synonyms: clumsy, clunky, gawky, ungainly
    lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance
  3. adjective
    difficult to work or manipulate
    unwieldy rules and regulations”
    not practical; not workable or not given to practical matters
Word Family

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