Definitions

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

  • adj. Not graceful; ungainly.
  • adj. Not dexterous; clumsy.
  • adj. Clumsily or unskillfully performed: The opera was marred by an awkward aria.
  • adj. Difficult to handle or manage: an awkward bundle to carry.
  • adj. Difficult to effect; uncomfortable: an awkward pose.
  • adj. Marked by or causing embarrassment or discomfort: an awkward remark; an awkward silence.
  • adj. Requiring great tact, ingenuity, skill, and discretion: An awkward situation arose during the peace talks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

Etymologies

Middle English awkeward, in the wrong way : awke, wrong (from Old Norse öfugr, backward; see apo- in Indo-European roots) + -ward, -ward.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From awk (“odd, clumsy”) +‎ -ward. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • When someone uses awk.

    November 14, 2008

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

    January 25, 2008

  • Oh, I very much doubt that!

    January 16, 2008

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

    January 16, 2008

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

    January 16, 2008

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

    January 16, 2008

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

    January 16, 2008