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or unwieldly

[uhn-weel-dee] /ʌnˈwil di/
adjective, unwieldier, unwieldiest.
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
First recorded in 1350-1400, unwieldy is from the Middle English word unweldy. See un-1, wieldy
Related forms
unwieldily, adverb
unwieldiness, noun
bulky, unmanageable, clumsy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unwieldly
Historical Examples
  • 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 Allen Chapman
  • 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 Edward FitzGerald
  • But all methods of notation preceding the Arabic were unwieldly, complex, and incomplete.

    The Reign of the Manuscript Perry Wayland Sinks
  • The ease with which the big Vermonter had so defied the law of gravitation with that unwieldly stick amazed him.

  • The Professor, as I remembered him, had an elephantine sense of humour capable of the most clumsy and unwieldly gambollings.

    The Poison Belt Arthur Conan Doyle
  • This sent him reeling against the wall, where he felt the muscles of an unwieldly arm tighten about his neck.

    Wild Oranges Joseph Hergesheimer
  • unwieldly cascos are poled down the river, laden heavily with cocoanuts and hemp.

British Dictionary definitions for unwieldly


too heavy, large, or awkwardly shaped to be easily handled
ungainly; clumsy
Derived Forms
unwieldily, unwieldlily, adverb
unwieldiness, unwieldliness, noun
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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