• WordNet 3.6
    • adj awkward socially uncomfortable; unsure and constrained in manner "awkward and reserved at parties","ill at ease among eddies of people he didn't know","was always uneasy with strangers"
    • adj awkward causing inconvenience "they arrived at an awkward time"
    • adj awkward hard to deal with; especially causing pain or embarrassment "awkward (or embarrassing or difficult) moments in the discussion","an awkward pause followed his remark","a sticky question","in the unenviable position of resorting to an act he had planned to save for the climax of the campaign"
    • adj awkward not elegant or graceful in expression "an awkward prose style","a clumsy apology","his cumbersome writing style","if the rumor is true, can anything be more inept than to repeat it now?"
    • adj awkward lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance "an awkward dancer","an awkward gesture","too awkward with a needle to make her own clothes","his clumsy fingers produced an awkward knot"
    • adj awkward difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape "an awkward bundle to carry","a load of bunglesome paraphernalia","clumsy wooden shoes","the cello, a rather ungainly instrument for a girl"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Awkward Not easily managed or effected; embarrassing. "A long and awkward process.""An awkward affair is one that has gone wrong, and is difficult to adjust."
    • Awkward Perverse; adverse; untoward. "Awkward casualties.""Awkward wind.""O blind guides, which being of an awkward religion, do strain out a gnat, and swallow up a cancel."
    • Awkward Wanting dexterity in the use of the hands, or of instruments; not dexterous; without skill; clumsy; wanting ease, grace, or effectiveness in movement; ungraceful; as, he was awkward at a trick; an awkward boy. "And dropped an awkward courtesy."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • awkward In the wrong direction; in the wrong way; backward.
    • awkward Asquint.
    • awkward Awkwardly; clumsily.
    • awkward Turned the wrong way; backhanded.
    • awkward Perverted; perverse.
    • awkward Untoward; adverse.
    • awkward Ill adapted for use or handling; unhandy in operation; clumsy: as, awkward instruments or contrivances.
    • awkward Wanting dexterity or skill in action or movement; clumsy in doing anything, as in using tools or implements; bungling.
    • awkward Ungraceful in action or person; ungainly; uncouth: as, awkward gestures; the awkward gambols of the elephant.
    • awkward Embarrassed; not at ease: used in relation to persons: as, an awkward feeling.
    • awkward Not easily dealt with; troublesome; vexatious; requiring caution: as, an awkward predicament.
    • awkward Unlucky.
    • awkward 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.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Awkward awk′ward clumsy: ungraceful: embarrassed: difficult to deal with: :
    • adj Awkward awk′ward (Shak.) unfavourable
    • adj Awkward awk′ward (obs.) froward
    • ***


  • Joseph Addison
    “Mere bashfulness without merit is awkwardness.”
  • Edward De Bono
    Edward De Bono
    “I must say, I don't feel very qualified to be a pop star. I feel very awkward at times in the role.”
  • John Keats
    “I always made an awkward bow.”
  • Mary Buckley
    Mary Buckley
    “Husbands are awkward things to deal with; even keeping them in hot water will not make them tender.”
  • Ernest Hemingway
    “I might say that what amateurs call a style is usually only the unavoidable awkwardnesses in first trying to make something that has not heretofore been made.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “Great endowments often announce themselves in youth in the form of singularity and awkwardness.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Awk, + -ward,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Prob. Ice. afug, turned wrong way, and suff. -ward, expressing direction.


In literature:

I be gettin' monstrous awkward!
"Janet of the Dunes" by Harriet T. Comstock
Both felt the awkwardness of the situation.
"The Promise" by James B. Hendryx
But to call and ask her to come to him was awkward.
"The History of Sir Richard Calmady" by Lucas Malet
Margaret was very grave, and as nearly awkward as it was possible for her to be.
"Deerbrook" by Harriet Martineau
I felt certain that I should be snubbed, but, to avoid general awkwardness, I took the chair beside Mrs. Ascher.
"Gossamer" by George A. Birmingham
She was actually making that silent, awkward lad talk!
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
He remained heedless of the other three boys hanging awkwardly in the middle distance.
"The Adventures of Bobby Orde" by Stewart Edward White
I couldn't be expected to foresee that she would display this awkward loyalty of hoping.
"The Kingdom Round the Corner" by Coningsby Dawson
Lisle was strongly impressed, but, as Millicent noticed, he betrayed no awkwardness.
"The Long Portage" by Harold Bindloss
But do you find the grade awkward when she's steaming properly?
"Brandon of the Engineers" by Harold Bindloss

In poetry:

With that he took his book, and left
An awkward silence to my care,
That soon I filled with questions deft
And debonair;
"The Letter L" by Jean Ingelow
Thy flesh to earth, thy soul to God,
We gave, O gallant brother;
And o'er thy grave the awkward squad
Fired into one another!
"General B.F. Butler" by Ambrose Bierce
Rearing is an awkward vice,
No rider ever thinks it nice.
When the horse prances on two feet
It's difficult to keep one's seat.
"Rearing" by Mary Tourtel
To one who to tradition clings
This seems an awkward state of things,
But if to think it out you try,
It doesn't really signify.
"My Dream" by William Schwenck Gilbert
Robin thought on Our Lady deere,
And soone leapt up againe,
And thus he came with an awkwarde stroke;
Good Sir Guy hee has slayne.
"Robin Hood And Guy Of Gisborne" by Anonymous British
An 'orseman would find it awkward
At first with a push that flew,
But blame my cats if I know what else
They'll find for Bill to do.
"My Mate Bill" by Anonymous Oceania

In news:

It's getting awkward in Denver.
Stimulus criticism awkward in places.
INTERVIEWS Watch Jeff Tweedy Awkwardly Report the Weather on Chicago Morning Show.
Watch Jeff Tweedy Awkwardly Report the Weather on Chicago Morning Show.
This morning, on Chicago's WGN morning show, Jeff Tweedy made his debut as an awkward, self-deprecating weatherman.
(Image from "Awkward Black Girl" episode 7.
But the way he lived his life is now the subject of a heated debate among American Catholics that reveals much about the modern-day church's complicated and sometimes awkward relations with its black parishioners.
"The remark about the poor immediately became catalogued in a growing list of awkward comments by Mr Romney".
Awkward and uncultivated in appearance, manner or behavior.
On 'Feherty,' stories from an 'awkward' man.
'The Oranges' is unfunny and extremely awkward.
From MC Hammer to Steve Forbes, the Most Awkward, Unfunny 'SNL' Hosts.
Each shot is slightly lopsided, each cut the cinematic equivalent of an awkward shift of weight.
Not easily managed, handled, or used (as because of bulk, weight, complexity, or awkwardness): cumbersome.
Three weeks in and you're already bored of anything that involves a rotating belt and you jiggling awkwardly in place.

In science:

The chief disadvantage is the awkwardness of viewing a four-dimensional category as a three-dimensional category with extra structure.
Three-Dimensional 2-Framed TQFTs and Surgery
This matrix element vanishes in the chiral limit and in the situation for B6 SU (3) limit, making the usual techniques for both lattice gauge theory and QCD estimates (1/2) depends on the scalar and awkward to apply.
Theoretical Summary Lecture for EPS HEP99
Perhaps the interaction technique reduces coverage of topics, or perhaps the method requires new teaching skills that teachers find awkward.
Lessons From the Physics-Education Reform Effort
This may seem awkward but makes sense if we recall Eq. 2.37, because this way U1 is applied to |ψi first, then U2 and so forth.
Experimental Quantum Computation with Nuclear Spins in Liquid Solution
And the best-buy age of the universe (13.7 Gyr or so) crowds awkwardly against a l6 Gyr estimate for the age of the globular cluster M92 (Rue las-Mayorua and Sanchez 2005).
Astrophysics in 2006