Definition of clumsy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklʌmzi/

adjective (clumsier, clumsiest)

1Awkward in movement or in handling things: the cold made his fingers clumsy
More example sentences
  • He is an awkward, clumsy boy in the community.
  • As it rocks from side to side, a walking penguin may look clumsy, but its movements are actually quite efficient.
  • The girls were running and giggling at the same time, making them clumsy in their movements and me even angrier.
1.1Done awkwardly or without skill: a very clumsy attempt to park
More example sentences
  • This was a clumsy amateurish attempt by two students.
  • ‘Being a hippy’ was just a clumsy attempt to give expression to those moments of spirituality he had experienced since childhood.
  • This clumsy attempt at democracy has soured the population.
1.2Difficult to handle or use; unwieldy: clumsy devices the legal procedure is far too clumsy
More example sentences
  • They were difficult to conceal, clumsy, expensive to manufacture, and required bulky ammunition which created stowage and logistics problems.
  • It looked and felt so clumsy, so unwieldy, so…… artificial.
  • The reason seems to be that they are clumsy and difficult to manoeuvre.
unwieldy, unmanageable, cumbersome, bulky, hulking, heavy, solid, awkward, unmanoeuvrable
1.3Lacking social skills; tactless: his choice of words was clumsy
More example sentences
  • Eventually, I made our excuses and took her home, worried that I had ruined yet another woman's life with my clumsy social skills.
  • I was far too clumsy in social situations to attempt a visit, not even to apologize for something that had been plaguing me with guilt all day.
  • But, at the heart of this argument, I have reached the conclusion that I'm a slightly clumsy, rather ineffectual speaker.
gauche, awkward, graceless, unpolished, unsubtle, crude, uncouth, boorish, crass;
tactless, insensitive, thoughtless, inconsiderate, undiplomatic, indelicate, impolitic, injudicious, ill-judged


Late 16th century: from obsolete clumse 'make or be numb', probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Swedish klumsig.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: clumsy

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