from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not graceful; ungainly.
  • adjective Not dexterous; clumsy.
  • adjective Clumsily or unskillfully performed.
  • adjective Difficult to handle or manage.
  • adjective Difficult to effect; uncomfortable.
  • adjective Marked by or causing embarrassment or discomfort.
  • adjective Requiring great tact, ingenuity, skill, and discretion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In the wrong direction; in the wrong way; backward.
  • Asquint.
  • Awkwardly; clumsily.
  • Turned the wrong way; backhanded.
  • Perverted; perverse.
  • Untoward; adverse.
  • Ill adapted for use or handling; unhandy in operation; clumsy: as, awkward instruments or contrivances.
  • Wanting dexterity or skill in action or movement; clumsy in doing anything, as in using tools or implements; bungling.
  • Ungraceful in action or person; ungainly; uncouth: as, awkward gestures; the awkward gambols of the elephant.
  • Embarrassed; not at ease: used in relation to persons: as, an awkward feeling.
  • Not easily dealt with; troublesome; vexatious; requiring caution: as, an awkward predicament.
  • Unlucky.
  • Synonyms and Awkward, Clumsy, Ungainly, Uncouth, Bungling, unhandy, inexpert, unskilful, inapt, lubberly; uncourtly, inelegant, constrained, clownish. Awkward is generally applied to want of ease and grace or skill in bodily movement, especially of the arms or legs: as, an awkward gait; awkward in the use of a tool. Clumsy starts from the notion of heaviness, and consequent unwieldiness or awkwardness in use; it is applicable to the whole body or to any part of it, even when still: as, a clumsy figure; clumsy hands. This difference is also found in the figurative use of the words: a clumsy excuse is one that is put together badly; an awkward excuse is one that may be good, but is not gracefully presented. Ungainly, literally unhandsome, not pleasing to the eye, is applied generally to awkwardness of appearance. Uncouth, literally unknown, uncommon, and so, by a bit of human conceit, uninstructed, untrained, unrefined, sometimes even rude, barbarous: as, uncouth phrases, manners. Bungling, awkward in doing, handling awkwardly, spoiling by awkwardness, in either literal or figurative use: as, he made bungling work of it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Wanting dexterity in the use of the hands, or of instruments; not dexterous; without skill; clumsy; wanting ease, grace, or effectiveness in movement; ungraceful
  • adjective Not easily managed or effected; embarrassing.
  • adjective obsolete Perverse; adverse; untoward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adverb obsolete In a backwards direction.
  • adjective Lacking dexterity in the use of the hands, or of instruments
  • adjective Not easily managed or effected; embarrassing
  • adjective Lacking social skills, or uncomfortable with social interaction
  • adjective Perverse; adverse; difficult to handle

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance
  • adjective socially uncomfortable; unsure and constrained in manner
  • adjective difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape
  • adjective not elegant or graceful in expression
  • adjective hard to deal with; especially causing pain or embarrassment
  • adjective causing inconvenience


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English awkeward, in the wrong way : awke, wrong (from Old Norse öfugr, backward; see apo- in Indo-European roots) + -ward, -ward.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From awk (“odd, clumsy”) +‎ -ward.


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  • I've always liked how the a-w-k-w-a part is palindromesque.

    January 16, 2008

  • Yes, and someone who's no use with paper and pencil might be drawkward.

    January 16, 2008

  • Apparently that describes uselessness. The rest of us just aren't saying. ;-)

    January 16, 2008

  • It's tragic that I consider myself to be a designer, really. Without software I am nothing.

    January 16, 2008

  • Oh, I very much doubt that!

    January 16, 2008

  • I'm definitely drawkward. Virtually druseless, in fact.

    January 25, 2008

  • When someone uses awk.

    November 14, 2008