[ kluhm-zee ]
See synonyms for: clumsyclumsilyclumsiness on

adjective,clum·si·er, clum·si·est.
  1. awkward in movement or action; without skill or grace: He is very clumsy and is always breaking things.

  2. awkwardly done or made; unwieldy; ill-contrived: He made a clumsy, embarrassed apology.

Origin of clumsy

1590–1600; clums benumbed with cold (now obsolete) + -y1; akin to Middle English clumsen to be stiff with cold, dialectal Swedish klumsig benumbed, awkward, klums numbskull, Old Norse klumsa lockjaw. See clam2

Other words for clumsy

Opposites for clumsy

Other words from clumsy

  • clum·si·ly, adverb
  • clum·si·ness, noun

Words Nearby clumsy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use clumsy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for clumsy


/ (ˈklʌmzɪ) /

adjective-sier or -siest
  1. lacking in skill or physical coordination

  2. awkwardly constructed or contrived

Origin of clumsy

C16 (in obsolete sense: benumbed with cold; hence, awkward): perhaps from C13 dialect clumse to benumb, probably from Scandinavian; compare Swedish dialect klumsig numb

Derived forms of clumsy

  • clumsily, adverb
  • clumsiness, 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