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  1. lacking in adroitness; unskillful; awkward; bungling; tactless: to handle a diplomatic crisis in a very maladroit way.
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Origin of maladroit

1665–75; < French, Middle French; see mal-, adroit
Related formsmal·a·droit·ly, adverbmal·a·droit·ness, noun


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clumsy, inept; gauche.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for maladroitly

Historical Examples

  • Maladroitly, he gave no direct reply, but answered the question by another.

    Aladdin of London

    Sir Max Pemberton

  • Maladroitly, yet with eager fingers, she put off her cloak and hat.

  • But he did it maladroitly by expressing the hope that things were going well with Mr. West.


    Henry Sydnor Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for maladroitly


  1. showing or characterized by clumsiness; not dexterous
  2. tactless and insensitive in behaviour or speech
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Derived Formsmaladroitly, adverbmaladroitness, noun

Word Origin

C17: from French, from mal badly + adroit
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

Word Origin and History for maladroitly



1670s, from mal- + adroit. Related: Maladroitly; maladroitness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper