- awkward in movement or action; without skill or grace: He is very clumsy and is always breaking things.
- awkwardly done or made; unwieldy; ill-contrived: He made a clumsy, embarrassed apology.
Origin of clumsy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for clumsily
He clumsily sipped from the dainty straw of a blasphemously non-bourbon beverage and smiled broadly as he talked to fellow bros.Mitch’s Brotastic Victory Bash
November 5, 2014
After firing that off, he clumsily asked what a plantation mentality is.Donald Sterling’s Insane Attempt at Damage Control Fails Miserably
May 13, 2014
How exciting to think that Jews of all people have sexual appetites, which they satisfy as clumsily as anybody else.The Real Lessons Of Portnoy’s Complaint
August 7, 2013
I thought about the 9mm in my purse as I clumsily continued down the stairs in my skirt and heels.‘Stupid,’ ‘Immoral,’ ‘Dangerous,’ ‘Coward’: My Month With a Gun
July 22, 2013
First, he clumsily inserts nakedly political posturing that seems altogether out-of-place in the context of the High Holy Days.Obama's Rosh Hashanah Gaffes
September 29, 2011
It was clumsily enough made, and he doubtless guessed how she had obtained it.Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
The priest was lying, clumsily, childishly, but it might be he could bargain with them.Two Thousand Miles Below
Charles Willard Diffin
The Martian had been walking by the ravine and had clumsily fallen in.Martians Never Die
He could move his arms a little, clumsily, but feeling was gone from them.Death of a Spaceman
Walter M. Miller
Clumsily enough, dangling as he was, Bell twisted about to look for Paula.
- lacking in skill or physical coordination
- awkwardly constructed or contrived
Word Origin and History for clumsily
1590s, "acting as if benumbed," alteration of Middle English clumsid "numb with cold" (14c.), past participle of clumsen "to benumb, stiffen or paralyze with cold or fear," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse klumsa "make speechless, palsy; prevent from speaking," intensive of kluma "to make motionless." For insertion of -s-, cf. flimsy.
Not in general use until 18c., with senses "manifesting awkwardness; so made as to be unwieldy." Related: Clumsily; clumsiness. Cf. Swedish dialectal klummsen "benumbed with cold," Norwegian klumsad (past participle) "speechless, palsied by a spasm or by fear or witchery;" German verklammen "grow stiff or numb with cold." Also cf. clumse (n.) "a stupid fellow."