Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: awk 'turned the wrong way' (15-17 centuries) (from Old Norse öfugr) + -ward

awkward

adjective
     
awk‧ward S2
1 making you feel embarrassed so that you are not sure what to do or say [= difficult]:
I hoped he would stop asking awkward questions.
There was an awkward moment when she didn't know whether to shake his hand or kiss his cheek.
A laugh can help people over an awkward situation.
Philip's remarks put her in an awkward position (=made it difficult for her to know what to do).
2 not relaxed or comfortable:
She liked to dance but felt awkward if someone was watching her.
Geoff looked uneasy and awkward.
Make sure that the baby is not sleeping in an awkward position.
3 difficult to do, use, or deal with:
It'll be awkward getting cars in and out.
The new financial arrangements were awkward to manage.
A good carpenter can make a cupboard to fit the most awkward space.
She was afraid he was going to ask an awkward question.
4 not convenient:
I'm sorry to call at such an awkward time but I won't keep you a minute.
5 an awkward person is deliberately unhelpful [= difficult]
awkward about
The staff wanted to go home and they were getting awkward about a meeting starting so late.
an awkward customer (=person who is difficult and unhelpful)
awkwardly adverb:
'I'm very sorry about your sister,' he said awkwardly.
Vera smiled awkwardly.
awkwardness noun [uncountable]
He tried to smooth over the awkwardness of the situation.
WORD FOCUS: difficult WORD FOCUS: difficult
difficult to do: hard, tough, challenging, daunting

difficult and needing a lot of physical effort: tough, strenuous, back-breaking, gruelling, arduous, punishing

difficult to deal with or talk about: tricky, awkward, delicate, sensitive, touchy

words for describing a difficult person: awkward, trying

words for describing difficult conditions: adverse, hostile


See also
difficult
WORD FOCUS: embarrassed WORD FOCUS: embarrassed
similar words: uncomfortable, awkward, sheepish, red-faced

very embarrassed: mortified


See also
embarrassed

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