- 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 clumsiness
Yet another chapter in the "J. Law's Clumsiness is So Endearing" saga.Jennifer Lawrence Trips (Again) at the Oscars, Internet Goes Nuts
March 3, 2014
Whatever Kerry lacks in clumsiness, he makes up for in spinelessness.Kerry Squanders Obama’s Good Work In Israel
April 11, 2013
Just a detail, perhaps, but it underlines the clumsiness of Romney's decision to come to Israel.Mitt, Are You Sure This Trip Was a Good Idea?
July 27, 2012
On Reliable Sources Sunday, Terence Smith said that a recent Obama gaffe was “Romney-esque in its clumsiness.”Sunday Talk: Ann Coulter Defends Mitt Romney & More (Video)
The Daily Beast Video
June 10, 2012
He inwardly cursed his clumsiness as he changed his gesture.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
Grivet then made himself remarkable by the clumsiness of his offers.Therese Raquin
The clumsiness of the style is exhibited in frequent mannerisms and repetitions.Laws
"Bardelys, a thousand apologies for my clumsiness," he muttered.
"I have no clumsiness to confess," he answered hotly, raising his voice.
- lacking in skill or physical coordination
- awkwardly constructed or contrived
Word Origin and History for clumsiness
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."