Definition of unwieldy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʌnˈwiːldi/

adjective (unwieldier, unwieldiest)

1(Of an object) difficult to move because of its size, shape, or weight: huge, unwieldy arc lamps
More example sentences
  • So the books that you read shouldn't be too unwieldy in weight, nor contain particularly tight typesetting or small font size.
  • The mask's unwieldy construction made it difficult to fall asleep.
  • But their size makes them unwieldy in city streets, and their acceleration is not tremendous.
cumbersome, unmanageable, unhandy, unmanoeuvrable;
awkward, difficult, clumsy, ungainly;
massive, heavy, hefty, bulky, weighty, ponderous
informal hulking, clunky
1.1(Of a system) too large or disorganized to function efficiently: the benefits system is unwieldy and unnecessarily complex
More example sentences
  • Fiba is an unwieldy bureaucracy that is not much concerned with policing its teams.
  • Critics say the plan would create an unwieldy bureaucracy with a hidden agenda.
  • The project of fixing our political system is an unwieldy one for those of us with a theoretical bent.



Example sentences
  • One of the reasons things have gotten unwieldily is that the replace function is not being used.
  • This is the approach that he takes in assembling the somewhat unwieldily titled Intoxication: Heathcliff on Powell Street.
  • However, it's still only on big rear projection sets which are rather unwieldily huge and expensive.


Pronunciation: /ʌnˈwiːldɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • That fear became an even greater factor when, due to African resistance and rebellion and the unwieldiness of slave-run plantation industrialisation, the slave trade was abolished in 1807.
  • And last week the idea of positioning it using an RAF Chinook was abandoned when bad weather and the sheer unwieldiness of the cargo defeated the airlift.
  • Despite the word's unwieldiness, then, I would propose that mimesis and anti-mimesis confront each other-optically, materially, figuratively-in Triptyque through a logic of ‘photo-scotomization.’


Late Middle English (in the sense 'lacking strength, infirm'): from un-1 'not' + wieldy (in the obsolete sense 'active').

  • The early meaning recorded was ‘lacking strength, infirm’. The word is composed of the prefix un- ‘not’ and wieldy in the obsolete sense ‘active’, from the Old English wield ‘rule, direct’. Unwieldy has meant ‘huge and awkward in shape’ since the late 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: un|wieldy

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