[ uhn-geyn-lee ]
/ ʌnˈgeɪn li /

adjective, un·gain·li·er, un·gain·li·est.

not graceful; awkward; unwieldy; clumsy: an ungainly child; an ungainly prose style.


in an awkward manner.

Origin of ungainly

1150–1200; (adv.) Middle English ungeinliche, equivalent to un- un-1 + later Middle English geyn straight, well-disposed, handy (< Old Norse gegn straight, direct; compare Old Norse ūgegn unreasonable) + -liche -ly; (adj.) un-1 + obsolete gainly proper, becoming, gracious, Middle English gaynlych (geyn as above + -lych -ly); cf. gainly, again

Related forms

un·gain·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ungainly

British Dictionary definitions for ungainly


/ (ʌnˈɡeɪnlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest

lacking grace when moving
difficult to move or use; unwieldy
rare crude or coarse


rare clumsily

Derived Forms

ungainliness, noun

Word Origin for ungainly

C17: from un- 1 + obsolete or dialect gainly graceful
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