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Syllabification: awk·ward
Pronunciation: /ˈôkwərd

Definition of awkward in English:


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, unwieldy
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.
2Causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience: he had put her in a very awkward situation
More example sentences
  • I'd like to encourage some interactivity in this blog, so if anyone would like to email me with their awkward or embarrassing moments, I can post them here anonymously.
  • Even though she had never really cared to notice, the air was damp and the dripping coming from above made the silence very uneasy and awkward.
  • There were a few uneasy seconds of awkward silence, everyone looking at Christine with apprehension.
embarrassing, uncomfortable, unpleasant, delicate, tricky, problematic, troublesome, thorny;
informal sticky, dicey, hairy
uncomfortable, uneasy, tense, nervous, edgy, unquiet;
self-conscious, embarrassed
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.
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.


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.



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.

Definition of awkward in:

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