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[uhn-skil-fuh l] /ʌnˈskɪl fəl/
not skillful; clumsy or bungling.
Also, especially British, unskilful.
Origin of unskillful
1350-1400; 1555-65 for current sense; Middle English unskylful unreasonable. See un-1, skillful
Related forms
unskillfully, adverb
unskillfulness, noun
untrained, maladroit, inept. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unskillful
Historical Examples
  • In short, the conservatives were unfortunate, because they were unskillful and imprudent.

  • Phil, however, feared to trust the violin in unskillful hands.

    Phil the Fiddler Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • The little man had such trouble to shape his unskillful lips to the words.

  • As a playwright he was, in fact, usually imitative and often unskillful.

    Tragedy Ashley H. Thorndike
  • This prince was, in truth, the most unskillful archer in his whole kingdom.

    Voltaire's Romances Franois-Marie Arouet
  • I preach in the simplest manner to the unskillful, and that giveth content to all.

  • She's nobody in particular, socially, and it will seem an unskillful thing to have asked her—and then she has ideas.

    The Faith Doctor Edward Eggleston
  • Such hid treasure should find the light, even though quarried by unskillful hands.

  • Thus we see that unskillful endeavours to solve difficulties, only raise fresh ones, and make confusion worse confounded.

  • Noted pictures were spoken of as having lost their charm through an unskillful cleaner.

Word Origin and History for unskillful

late 14c., "foolish," from un- (1) "not" + skillful. Meaning "inexpert" is from 1560s. Related: Unskillfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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