- awkward in movement or action; without skill or grace: He is very clumsy and is always breaking things.
- awkwardly done or made; unwieldy; ill-contrived: He made a clumsy, embarrassed apology.
Origin of clumsy
SynonymsSee more synonyms for clumsy on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for clumsy
He must be pretending to be something, striking some kind of clumsy tribal note.For a President Today, Talkin' Down Is Speaking American
August 7, 2014
But Silva, hapless Silva, got his merely for tangling with the Colombian goalkeeper in a clumsy melee of limbs.Brazil and Colombia Bring the Ugly Game
July 4, 2014
Season one of OITNB chronicled her clumsy, fumbling attempts to get her legs under her so she could run for safety.‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season Two Is More Bingeworthy Than the First
May 16, 2014
Ignore the clumsy comparisons of the Syria War and the Balkans War.No One Understands Syria, But Everyone Is Choosing Sides
September 4, 2013
Rather, after weeks of clumsy diplomacy, they consciously led their nations into battle.The Utterly Pointless First World War
Michael F. Bishop
May 22, 2013
"It's the way you're treating me," he cried, with a clumsy man's awkward attempt at gesture.Viviette
William J. Locke
I appear to have given you offence also with my clumsy tongue.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
As he was clumsy in finesse, she understood his idea, and her eyes flashed.Quaint Courtships
The clumsy framework of the receiver was reduced to a neat and portable size.Heroes of the Telegraph
It was clumsy enough, but in my eyes a marvel of engineering art.Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood
- lacking in skill or physical coordination
- awkwardly constructed or contrived
Word Origin and History for clumsy
1590s, "acting as if benumbed," alteration of Middle English clumsid "numb with cold" (14c.), past participle of clumsen "to benumb, stiffen or paralyze with cold or fear," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse klumsa "make speechless, palsy; prevent from speaking," intensive of kluma "to make motionless." For insertion of -s-, cf. flimsy.
Not in general use until 18c., with senses "manifesting awkwardness; so made as to be unwieldy." Related: Clumsily; clumsiness. Cf. Swedish dialectal klummsen "benumbed with cold," Norwegian klumsad (past participle) "speechless, palsied by a spasm or by fear or witchery;" German verklammen "grow stiff or numb with cold." Also cf. clumse (n.) "a stupid fellow."