Definition of awkward in English:


Syllabification: awk·ward
Pronunciation: /ˈôkwərd


  • 1Causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with: one of the most awkward jobs is painting a ceiling some awkward questions the wheelbarrow can be awkward to maneuver
    More example sentences
    • Had staff consulted with the minister and agreed to feign communication breakdown so as not to have to deal with my awkward questions?
    • He dealt with an awkward question on devolution with the surety and intelligence you would expect from a man who refused to be bullied into Vietnam.
    • O'Brien's hectic schedule may have been cast aside this weekend as he prepares to deal with many awkward questions, which may include some of the following.
    difficult, tricky; cumbersome, unwieldyinconvenient, inappropriate, inopportune, unseasonable, difficult
  • 1.1Deliberately unreasonable or uncooperative: you’re being damned awkward!
    More example sentences
    • 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.
  • 3Not smooth or graceful; ungainly: Luther’s awkward movements impeded his progress she was long-legged and rather awkward
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    clumsy, ungainly, uncoordinated, graceless, inelegant, gauche, gawky, wooden, stiff; unskillful, maladroit, inept, blundering
    informal clodhopping, ham-fisted, ham-handed, heavy-handed, all thumbs
  • 3.1Uncomfortable or abnormal: make sure the baby isn’t sleeping in an awkward position
    More example sentences
    • 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.



More example sentences
  • He swung his legs slowly and awkwardly over the side of the bed and looked side to side.
  • He stood awkwardly before her, painfully aware of the promise he had made, and not sure how to act.
  • A grouse pretended to have a broken wing and ran awkwardly ahead to distract us from the chicks tumbling in the heather.


late Middle English (in the sense 'the wrong way around, upside down'): from dialect awk 'backward, perverse, clumsy' (from Old Norse afugr 'turned the wrong way') + -ward.

More definitions of awkward

Definition of awkward in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody