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awkward

[awk-werd] /ˈɔk wərd/
adjective
1.
lacking skill or dexterity.
2.
lacking grace or ease in movement: an awkward gesture;
an awkward dancer.
Antonyms: graceful.
3.
lacking social graces or manners:
a simple, awkward frontiersman.
4.
not well planned or designed for easy or effective use: an awkward instrument;
an awkward method.
5.
requiring caution; somewhat hazardous:
an awkward turn in the road.
6.
hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like: an awkward situation;
an awkward customer.
7.
embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of social grace:
an awkward moment.
8.
Obsolete. untoward; perverse.
Origin of awkward
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English, equivalent to awk(e), auk(e) ‘backhanded’, Old English *afoc (< Old Norse ǫfugr ‘turned the wrong way’; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German abuh, Old English afu(h)lic ‘wrong’, off) + -ward -ward
Related forms
awkwardly, adverb
awkwardness, noun
unawkward, adjective
unawkwardly, adverb
unawkwardness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for awkwardness

awkward

/ˈɔːkwəd/
adjective
1.
lacking dexterity, proficiency, or skill; clumsy; inept: the new recruits were awkward in their exercises
2.
ungainly or inelegant in movements or posture: despite a great deal of practice she remained an awkward dancer
3.
unwieldy; difficult to use: an awkward implement
4.
embarrassing: an awkward moment
5.
embarrassed: he felt awkward about leaving
6.
difficult to deal with; requiring tact: an awkward situation, an awkward customer
7.
deliberately uncooperative or unhelpful: he could help but he is being awkward
8.
dangerous or difficult: an awkward ascent of the ridge
9.
(obsolete) perverse
Derived Forms
awkwardly, adverb
awkwardness, noun
Word Origin
C14 awk, from Old Norse öfugr turned the wrong way round + -ward
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for awkwardness
n.

1704, "lack of grace," from awkward + -ness. Meaning "physical clumsiness" is attested from c.1770; that of "social embarrassment" is from 1788.

awkward

adj.

mid-14c., "in the wrong direction," from awk "back-handed" + adverbial suffix -weard (see -ward). Meaning "clumsy" first recorded 1520s. Related: Awkwardly. Other formations from awk, none of them surviving, were awky, awkly, awkness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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