Definition of awkward in English:

awkward

adjective

  • 1Causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with.

    ‘some awkward questions’
    ‘the wheelbarrow can be awkward to manoeuvre’
    • ‘The bottle is awkward and hard to spray.’
    • ‘His claims that the tribunal has shown bias towards him still leave a number of awkward issues to be dealt with.’
    • ‘The wood was hard and awkward, the stone ice cold during most of the year.’
    • ‘The user controls are somewhat awkward and very difficult to master.’
    • ‘He was fobbing us off in order to get out of doing an awkward, time-consuming job.’
    • ‘He frequently appears to be sidestepping awkward questions.’
    • ‘They have the right to ask some awkward questions.’
    • ‘It comes at an awkward time on the calendar.’
    • ‘He will be on crutches for two months because it 's in an awkward place in his knee.’
    • ‘It's quite awkward to use at times.’
    • ‘It was way too heavy and awkward to use.’
    • ‘The controller looks awkward to hold.’
    • ‘It is a very tall burger and a little awkward to eat.’
    • ‘It's heavy and awkward to carry around.’
    • ‘Toolboxes can be heavy and awkward to move around your shop.’
    • ‘The chest strap is awkward to wear.’
    • ‘The case is stiff, awkward, and bulky.’
    • ‘Too many of the designs are too clunky and awkward.’
    • ‘You don't want a pack that 's too heavy or awkward to tuck away.’
    • ‘The volume button is also located in an awkward position.’
    difficult, tricky
    cumbersome, unwieldy, unhandy
    inconvenient, difficult, inappropriate, inopportune, unfortunate
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    1. 1.1Deliberately unreasonable or uncooperative.
      ‘you're being damned awkward!’
      • ‘We did not want to be awkward and put any unreasonable obstructions in the way.’
      • ‘I was asked to enter some of my favourite music, so being deliberately awkward, I entered four of my less well known favourites, first among them being Lucy Woodward.’
      • ‘Everyone wants peace, no one wants war, and if you aren't prepared to march then you're either gung ho or deliberately awkward.’
      • ‘London's tone suggests they're put out, as though we're being deliberately awkward.’
      • ‘They kept waiters hanging on while rudely squabbling and were deliberately awkward.’
      • ‘However awkward and obstructive he has been, we are going to war come what may.’
      • ‘He seems to be an actor perfectly suited to kitchen sink dramas in an age when demand from that sort of awkward, angry character is declining.’
      • ‘Between the ages of thirty and fifty, father often enters an awkward or ‘negative’ stage.’
      • ‘He couldn't quite grab the vital winning goal as they came up against Lady Luck with her awkward head on, a stubborn defence and a goalkeeper in top form.’
      • ‘Also, the ones they do employ (at least in Peckham) are inadequately trained/too inefficient to deal with awkward customers.’
      • ‘The mayor told us that this man has caused other problems that he is unwilling to resolve, so he seems to be an awkward person to deal with.’
      • ‘I love that last bit about Vignelli and the way he dealt with the awkward client.’
      • ‘Hasseck said one way of deciding how to deal with awkward customers was to work out what kind they were.’
      • ‘Shaw said it was vital to teach everyone in your business how to deal with awkward customers.’
      • ‘Belinda had mentioned that she had been a secretary for a while and she was good at dealing with awkward customers.’
      • ‘The public perception of me is that I'm a hard man or an awkward man.’
      • ‘And on top of that they have to deal diplomatically with awkward patients.’
      • ‘There's nothing wrong with being awkward and difficult and odd.’
      • ‘I am old, cynical, bitter, twisted, awkward, difficult, fussy, and generally hard to please.’
      unreasonable, uncooperative, unhelpful, difficult, annoying, obstructive, unaccommodating, refractory, disobliging, contrary, perverse, tiresome, exasperating, trying
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  • 2Causing or feeling uneasy embarrassment or inconvenience.

    ‘he had put her in a very awkward position’
    ‘she felt awkward alone with him’
    • ‘If anyone would like to email me with their awkward or embarrassing moments, I can post them here anonymously.’
    • ‘The dripping coming from above made the silence very uneasy and awkward.’
    • ‘There were a few uneasy seconds of awkward silence, everyone looking at Christine with apprehension.’
    • ‘She could easily envision the awkward silences and uneasy shifting in the seats.’
    • ‘After a few such trips, I became bolder, and I got myself into quite a few awkward or embarrassing situations as a result.’
    • ‘Waiting for her to pick up was awkward and hard, but eventually the phone clicked over and a man's voice answered.’
    • ‘It also provided a social setting where the sixth graders could mingle without the pressures of a party or dance, which can be awkward for this age group.’
    • ‘I bought a suit today, after two weeks of deliberations, window shopping, and awkward small talk with sales assistants.’
    • ‘The atmosphere grew tenser and an awkward pause ensued.’
    • ‘I was desperate for approval and to find some common ground to smooth over an unpleasantly awkward couple of days.’
    • ‘They certainly didn't make us feel awkward when we questioned them about some of the dishes.’
    • ‘My mind went back to when Josh and I were Sammy's age, and how awkward it was at that age when people didn't want to be your friend.’
    • ‘It was a really awkward moment for me because I made a stupid mistake.’
    • ‘The officer is put in an awkward position when he unknowingly pulls his favorite actor over for a routine traffic stop.’
    • ‘It was a very awkward situation.’
    • ‘The extremely awkward interview came to a head when the singer hurled his phone across the room.’
    • ‘The singer endured an awkward exchange on live TV when the presenter asked him about his nickname.’
    • ‘They eventually moved on, but it made for a very awkward few seconds.’
    • ‘A few family members are expecting it to be very awkward.’
    • ‘They seemed to have put their very awkward encounter a few weeks before behind them.’
    embarrassing, uncomfortable, unpleasant, delicate, ticklish, tricky, sensitive, problematic, problematical, troublesome, perplexing, thorny, vexatious
    embarrassed, self-conscious, uncomfortable, ill at ease, uneasy, tense, nervous, edgy, unrelaxed, strained
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  • 3Not smooth or graceful; ungainly.

    ‘Luther's awkward movements impeded his progress’
    • ‘That most people walk in an ungraceful, ungainly and awkward manner with a forward inclination of the body does not mean that it is the normal way of walking.’
    • ‘Now she faked her clumsy and awkward movements, often purposely stumbling over anything that came her way.’
    • ‘Kouki could see by his stiff stance and awkward movement that he didn't like him.’
    • ‘I learned to ski in the Dolomites more than 20 years ago, and memories of those buttery sunsets have stayed with me as much as the first awkward turns and ungainly falls off button lifts.’
    • ‘The elephant, unwieldy and awkward yet graceful and powerful, becomes an allegory for the form itself.’
    • ‘He looks almost exactly as I'd left him; awkward, ungainly and birdlike.’
    • ‘The resulting pieces at first look remarkably awkward and ungainly.’
    • ‘I was always a bit awkward and ungainly as a child, so I thought that maybe I was just on the clumsy side.’
    • ‘The high ceilings and unbroken expanses of wall in such a house can make the rooms seem awkward and ungainly.’
    • ‘If a grader were a person, he might be called ungainly, awkward, or even a klutz.’
    • ‘Mothers and fathers send out the message that boys are awkward, ungainly and silly.’
    • ‘He felt clumsy and awkward in the air, his body too ungainly to be properly streamlined.’
    • ‘Many of the other performers, however, were stiff and awkward.’
    • ‘But left-handers are renowned for being awkward and clumsy and in some societies they are still looked upon with suspicion.’
    • ‘Others are clumsy and awkward, obvious targets of adolescent rejection.’
    • ‘Chris was nearly eighteen and though he was tall, filled out with spiky black hair and handsome features, he still felt awkward, gawky, and ugly.’
    • ‘You remember how you felt at that age, when your own body was awkward and when you were full of energy and uncertainty.’
    • ‘In all of them you see a hunched, awkward man, uncomfortable in his own body.’
    • ‘He baffles hitters with an awkward delivery, a hard fastball and a Frisbee slider.’
    • ‘He's a contradiction in that his jump shot, an awkward heave off his right shoulder, is fundamentally flawed.’
    clumsy, ungainly, uncoordinated, maladroit, graceless, ungraceful, inept, inelegant, unskilful, unhandy, all thumbs, gauche, gawky, gangling, blundering, lumbering, cloddish
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    1. 3.1Uncomfortable or abnormal.
      ‘make sure the baby isn't sleeping in an awkward position’
      • ‘He stood as straight as he could, which was not very straight, since he spent nearly two hours in an uncomfortable and awkward position.’
      • ‘As I lay on my side, too choked with inward giggling to move into a less awkward and uncomfortable position, my mother appeared.’
      • ‘The members did this while crouching-on the floor in a very uncomfortable, awkward position.’
      • ‘There, lying in an awkward, unnatural position, was the High Priestess.’
      • ‘Mountain biking is jarring on the low back and is forcing your spine into an awkward, unnatural position.’
      • ‘I tried taming it with a metal hoop around its middle last year but some stems still found their way out from their binding and those that didn't looked awkward and uncomfortable.’
      • ‘It was awkward and uncomfortable to sleep in a closet.’
      • ‘Stan hunched down next to Phillip as he squeezed himself into the tunnel at a relatively awkward and entirely uncomfortable angle as his tail lit the way for the party.’
      • ‘If the motion feels awkward, uncomfortable or painful, you need to make an adjustment somewhere.’
      • ‘The hotels are still generic and boring and when I sleep, it feels awkward and uncomfortable in the beds.’
      • ‘It would ball up on his hoof, making it uncomfortable and awkward to walk.’
      • ‘It seemed awkward and unnatural to stand and walk, but I did it; I clambered out of the cave, into the harsh sunlight.’
      • ‘One of his legs was bloodied and bent at an awkward angle because of a clearly broken bone.’
      • ‘I sat up angrily, muttering profanities to myself as I rubbed my elbows and knees which took my awkward landing hardest.’
      • ‘He held one paw forward in an awkward, unnatural way.’
      • ‘They almost always occur after sleeping, especially if in an awkward position such as leaning against a bus window.’
      • ‘I lay on the floor at an awkward angle.’
      • ‘Seems like a really awkward, unnatural pose to me.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘the wrong way round, upside down’): from dialect awk ‘backwards, perverse, clumsy’ (from Old Norse afugr ‘turned the wrong way’) + -ward.

Pronunciation

awkward

/ˈɔːkwəd/