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clumsy

[kluhm-zee] /ˈklʌm zi/
adjective, clumsier, clumsiest.
1.
awkward in movement or action; without skill or grace:
He is very clumsy and is always breaking things.
2.
awkwardly done or made; unwieldy; ill-contrived:
He made a clumsy, embarrassed apology.
Origin of clumsy
1590-1600
1590-1600; clums benumbed with cold (now obsolete) + -y1; akin to Middle English clumsen to be stiff with cold, dialectal Swedish klumsig benumbed, awkward, klums numbskull, Old Norse klumsa lockjaw. See clam2
Related forms
clumsily, adverb
clumsiness, noun
Synonyms
1. ungraceful, ungainly, lumbering, lubberly. 2. unhandy, unskillful, maladroit, inexpert, bungling, bumbling, heavy-handed, inept.
Antonyms
2. adroit, skillful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for clumsiness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He always felt his heaviness and clumsiness in talking with the editor, who fascinated him.

    The Minister's Charge William Dean Howells
  • I mean to say, when he sharply rebuked me for clumsiness or cried out "Stupid!"

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • "Bardelys, a thousand apologies for my clumsiness," he muttered.

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • He inwardly cursed his clumsiness as he changed his gesture.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • He had often reproached himself that, by his clumsiness, he had stuck a knife into her tender heart.

    Alas! Rhoda Broughton
  • He had been clumsy, if nothing else, and he had always thought that clumsiness was inexcusable.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
British Dictionary definitions for clumsiness

clumsy

/ˈklʌmzɪ/
adjective -sier, -siest
1.
lacking in skill or physical coordination
2.
awkwardly constructed or contrived
Derived Forms
clumsily, adverb
clumsiness, noun
Word Origin
C16 (in obsolete sense: benumbed with cold; hence, awkward): perhaps from C13 dialect clumse to benumb, probably from Scandinavian; compare Swedish dialect klumsig numb
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 clumsiness

clumsy

adj.

1590s, "acting as if benumbed," alteration of Middle English clumsid "numb with cold" (14c.), past participle of clumsen "to benumb, stiffen or paralyze with cold or fear," from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse klumsa "make speechless, palsy; prevent from speaking," intensive of kluma "to make motionless." For insertion of -s-, cf. flimsy.

Not in general use until 18c., with senses "manifesting awkwardness; so made as to be unwieldy." Related: Clumsily; clumsiness. Cf. Swedish dialectal klummsen "benumbed with cold," Norwegian klumsad (past participle) "speechless, palsied by a spasm or by fear or witchery;" German verklammen "grow stiff or numb with cold." Also cf. clumse (n.) "a stupid fellow."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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