- not wieldy; wielded with difficulty; not readily handled or managed in use or action, as from size, shape, or weight; awkward; ungainly.
Origin of unwieldy
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for unwieldly
It was very sharp, but its weight would have been unwieldly for a slight man.Ulric the Jarl
William O. Stoddard
He was a big, fat, unwieldly person, but he pursued the fugitive vigorously.Bound to Succeed
Like some ghostly bride he stumbled up through the lurid night, dragging the unwieldly train behind him.Tom Slade at Temple Camp
Percy K. Fitzhugh
Paul darted, as quickly as his unwieldly bulk would allow, into the middle of the street.Boyhood in Norway
Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
This may be: though I think Russia is too unwieldly and rotten-ripe ever to make a huge progress in conquest.Letters of Edward FitzGerald
- too heavy, large, or awkwardly shaped to be easily handled
- ungainly; clumsy
Word Origin and History for unwieldly
late 14c., "lacking strength," from un- (1) "not" + Old English wielde "active, vigorous," from Proto-Germanic *walth- "have power" (see wield). Meaning "moving ungracefully" is recorded from 1520s; in reference to weapons, "difficult to handle, awkward by virtue of size or shape" it is attested from 1540s.