English edit

Etymology edit

From awk (odd, clumsy) +‎ -ward.

Pronunciation edit

Adverb edit

awkward (comparative more awkward, superlative most awkward)

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  1. (obsolete) In a backwards direction.

Adjective edit

awkward (comparative awkwarder or more awkward, superlative awkwardest or most awkward)

  1. Lacking dexterity in the use of the hands, or of instruments.
    Synonyms: clumsy, lubberly, ungraceful, unhandy
    Antonyms: dexterous, gainly, graceful, handy, skillful
    John was awkward at performing the trick. He'll have to practice to improve.
  2. Not easily managed or effected; embarrassing.
    That was an extremely awkward moment. Everyone was watching.
    An awkward silence had fallen.
  3. Lacking social skills, or uncomfortable with social interaction.
    Synonym: maladroit
    Antonyms: amiable, cool
    I'm very awkward at parties.
    Things got awkward when my boss tried a cheesy pick-up line on me.
  4. Perverse; adverse; difficult to handle.
    He's a right awkward chap.
    These cabinets are going to be very awkward when we move.
    • 2020 August 26, Andrew Mourant, “Reinforced against future flooding”, in Rail, page 61:
      Clearing up rock and fallen vegetation at such an awkward site required a team of specialist geoengineers.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

awkward (plural awkwards)

  1. Someone or something that is awkward.
    • 1912, Eliza Ripley, Social Life in Old New Orleans, Being Recollections of My Girlhood, New York, N.Y., London: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      Another important branch of deportment was to seat the awkwards stiffly on the extreme edge of a chair, fold the hands on the very precarious lap, droop the eyes in a pensive way.
    • 1998, Leo Marks, Between Silk and Cyanide: The Story of SOE's Code War, London: HarperCollins, →ISBN:
      'What periods are you talking about?' / 'The monthly awkwards. Didn't the girls at Molyneux have them when you were managing director?' / The Rabbit leaned forward, sniffing the air in the immediate vicinity. 'Either you've been drinking or you've got some girl into trouble. Or am I being unfair to you and it's both?'
    • 2014, Grace Helbig, Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-up, New York, N.Y.: Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster, →ISBN, page 76:
      That is a way to make awkwards. And it's not fun to hang out with awkwards more than once.