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awkward

[awk-werd] /ˈɔk wərd/
adjective
1.
lacking skill or dexterity.
2.
lacking grace or ease in movement: an awkward gesture;
an awkward dancer.
Antonyms: graceful.
3.
lacking social graces or manners:
a simple, awkward frontiersman.
4.
not well planned or designed for easy or effective use: an awkward instrument;
an awkward method.
5.
requiring caution; somewhat hazardous:
an awkward turn in the road.
6.
hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like: an awkward situation;
an awkward customer.
7.
embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of social grace:
an awkward moment.
8.
Obsolete. untoward; perverse.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English, equivalent to awk(e), auk(e) ‘backhanded’, Old English *afoc (< Old Norse ǫfugr ‘turned the wrong way’; cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German abuh, Old English afu(h)lic ‘wrong’, off) + -ward -ward
Related forms
awkwardly, adverb
awkwardness, noun
unawkward, adjective
unawkwardly, adverb
unawkwardness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for awkward
  • If your subject senses you feel awkward or shy about photographing them, they will find it difficult to relax.
  • Without practiced skills and polished positions, he made the evening more awkward, less solemn.
  • The first moments of the meeting were awkward.
  • She has, on the stage, an awkward grace she seldom shows anywhere else.
  • Friends of an awkward moose help him realize that real beauty is found within.
  • He put out his hand as though to greet the younger man and then awkwardly drew it back again.
  • But the seats have a poor adjustment range and many drivers will find the position awkward.
  • This could have been an awkward moment.
  • For this reason, it can be awkward to converse with somebody with dark sunglasses.
  • Fine, unless you're left-handed and that right-side handle forces you into an awkward reach.
British Dictionary definitions for awkward

awkward

/ˈɔːkwəd/
adjective
1.
lacking dexterity, proficiency, or skill; clumsy; inept the new recruits were awkward in their exercises
2.
ungainly or inelegant in movements or posture despite a great deal of practice she remained an awkward dancer
3.
unwieldy; difficult to use an awkward implement
4.
embarrassing an awkward moment
5.
embarrassed he felt awkward about leaving
6.
difficult to deal with; requiring tact an awkward situation, an awkward customer
7.
deliberately uncooperative or unhelpful he could help but he is being awkward
8.
dangerous or difficult an awkward ascent of the ridge
9.
(obsolete) perverse
Derived Forms
awkwardly, adverb
awkwardness, noun
Word Origin
C14 awk, from Old Norse öfugr turned the wrong way round + -ward
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
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Word Origin and History for awkward
adj.

mid-14c., "in the wrong direction," from awk "back-handed" + adverbial suffix -weard (see -ward). Meaning "clumsy" first recorded 1520s. Related: Awkwardly. Other formations from awk, none of them surviving, were awky, awkly, awkness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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