- 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 unwieldy
But any biographer of the novel faces a problem more fundamental than compressing between two covers a vast and unwieldy subject.The Birth of the Novel
November 27, 2014
Lachs writes with clarity and concision—admirable concision, considering how unwieldy university press offerings tend to be.America’s Meddlers Are Our Worst Enemies
October 3, 2014
Unwieldy trash piles or not, the coming treasure hunts are sure to be interesting ones.As Japan’s Tsunami Debris Arrives, Can U.S. West Coast Handle It?
September 7, 2012
But if we only rewarded consistency, the list would be unwieldy, fixed, and dull.America’s Top 50 Rabbis for 2012
April 2, 2012
So how did this unwieldy collection wind up looking like, well, disorganized Democrats?For Presidential Hopefuls, a Game of Posturing and Positioning
February 21, 2011
Then he could with ease place the huge and unwieldy galleon at his mercy.Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer
Cyrus Townsend Brady
His hands, very swollen, with knotted veins, looked enormous and unwieldy.A Set of Six
There was nothing to do but steer the unwieldy craft with the current.The Story of Young Abraham Lincoln
The body has then become too unwieldy for that which animates it.
He was heavy-set and unwieldy, and he wore a wrinkled suit of butternut jeans.Oh, You Tex!
William Macleod Raine
- too heavy, large, or awkwardly shaped to be easily handled
- ungainly; clumsy
Word Origin and History for unwieldy
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.