View synonyms for awkward


[ awk-werd ]


  1. lacking skill or dexterity.

    Synonyms: inexpert, unhandy, unskillful, inept, clumsy

    Antonyms: handy, dexterous, skillful, adroit, deft

  2. lacking grace or ease in movement:

    an awkward gesture;

    an awkward dancer.

    Synonyms: uncoordinated, clumsy, maladroit, gawky, ungainly, graceless

    Antonyms: graceful

  3. lacking social graces or manners:

    a simple, awkward frontiersman.

    Synonyms: unpolished, unrefined, gauche, ill-bred, unmannerly, ill-mannered, oafish

    Antonyms: refined, polished, smooth, well-bred, well-mannered, polite, gracious

  4. not well planned or designed for easy or effective use:

    an awkward instrument;

    an awkward method.

    Synonyms: unmanageable, troublesome, difficult, inconvenient, cumbersome, unwieldy

  5. requiring caution; somewhat hazardous:

    an awkward turn in the road.

    Synonyms: unsafe, risky, dangerous, treacherous, precarious, perilous, chancy

  6. hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like:

    an awkward situation;

    an awkward customer.

  7. embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of social grace:

    an awkward moment.

    Synonyms: touchy, ticklish, uncomfortable, difficult, trying, unpleasant

  8. Obsolete. untoward; perverse.


/ ˈɔːkwəd /


  1. lacking dexterity, proficiency, or skill; clumsy; inept

    the new recruits were awkward in their exercises

  2. ungainly or inelegant in movements or posture

    despite a great deal of practice she remained an awkward dancer

  3. unwieldy; difficult to use

    an awkward implement

  4. embarrassing

    an awkward moment

  5. embarrassed

    he felt awkward about leaving

  6. difficult to deal with; requiring tact

    an awkward customer

    an awkward situation

  7. deliberately uncooperative or unhelpful

    he could help but he is being awkward

  8. dangerous or difficult

    an awkward ascent of the ridge

  9. obsolete.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈawkwardly, adverb
  • ˈawkwardness, noun

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Other Words From

  • awkward·ly adverb
  • awkward·ness noun
  • un·awkward adjective
  • un·awkward·ly adverb
  • un·awkward·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of awkward1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, equivalent to awk(e), auk(e) “backhanded,” (unattested) Old English afoc (from Old Norse ǫfugr “turned the wrong way, backwards”; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German abuh “wrong, bad,” Old English afu(h)lic “perverse”) + -ward suffix denoting direction; off, -ward

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Word History and Origins

Origin of awkward1

C14 awk, from Old Norse öfugr turned the wrong way round + -ward

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Example Sentences

It’s the first time I’ve read a book where every sentence is cowritten, and it didn’t feel awkward at all.

From Fortune

The painful consequence of that will be a clunky, suboptimal transposition of the physical to the virtual, right down—one fears—to an awkward videoconference cocktail hour.

From Fortune

You can also stretch one app across both screens, but it’s unsightly and awkward to have your content sliced down the middle with a big blank bar.

From Fortune

The latest service disruptions come at an awkward time for Robinhood.

From Fortune

Except that it’ll be rooted in awkward, funny and compelling reality.

From Ozy

The squabble was also immortalized in this incredibly awkward family portrait.

The rapper was one such panelist, forced upon Gregory for an excruciatingly awkward roundtable segment.

Some immediately treated the young rapper as a punchline, turning his awkward posture in the photo into a meme.

He sketched it quickly, his hand trembling, giving the drawing an awkward, palsied look.

By two-thirty on the first afternoon at his house, I long for a cup of coffee but feel awkward about asking.

The moment was an awkward one, and Cynthia wished madly that she had not been prompted to ask that unfortunate question.

This was no strange sight to the boy by that time, but it was awkward in the circumstances, for he had neither gun nor spear.

Finally, his predicament became so awkward that an expression of distress crept into his face.

Meyer Isaacson said nothing; and, after a silence that was awkward, Nigel changed the conversation, and not long after went away.

Perhaps that made it awkward for him, as he was not accustomed to having his wife in such close proximity with him daily.





whole new ballgame, aawkward age