not skillful; clumsy or bungling.

Also especially British, un·skil·ful.

Origin of unskillful

1350–1400; 1555–65 for current sense; Middle English unskylful unreasonable. See un-1, skillful
Related formsun·skill·ful·ly, adverbun·skill·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for unskillful

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unskillful

Historical Examples of unskillful

  • In short, the conservatives were unfortunate, because they were unskillful and imprudent.

  • Phil, however, feared to trust the violin in unskillful hands.

    Phil the Fiddler

    Horatio Alger, Jr.

  • The little man had such trouble to shape his unskillful lips to the words.

  • As a playwright he was, in fact, usually imitative and often unskillful.


    Ashley H. Thorndike

  • This prince was, in truth, the most unskillful archer in his whole kingdom.

    Voltaire's Romances

    Franois-Marie Arouet

Word Origin and History for unskillful

late 14c., "foolish," from un- (1) "not" + skillful. Meaning "inexpert" is from 1560s. Related: Unskillfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper