adjective awk·ward \ˈ-kwərd\

: not graceful

: lacking skill

: difficult to use or handle

Full Definition of AWKWARD

obsolete :  perverse
archaic :  unfavorable, adverse
a :  lacking dexterity or skill (as in the use of hands) <awkward with a needle and thread>
b :  showing the result of a lack of expertness <awkward pictures>
a :  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>
a :  lacking social grace and assurance <an awkward newcomer>
b :  causing embarrassment <an awkward moment>
:  not easy to handle or deal with :  requiring great skill, ingenuity, or care <an awkward load> <an awkward diplomatic situation>
awk·ward·ly adverb
awk·ward·ness noun

Examples of AWKWARD

  1. 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

Origin of 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
First Known Use: 1530

Synonym Discussion of 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>.
AWKWARD Defined for Kids


adjective awk·ward \ˈ-kwərd\

Definition of AWKWARD for Kids

:  not graceful :  clumsy <an awkward dancer>
:  likely to embarrass <an awkward question>
:  difficult to use or handle <awkward tools>
awk·ward·ly adverb
awk·ward·ness noun <After a moment of awkwardness, I remembered who she was.>


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