Word of the Day: awkward

 

 
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Word Reference
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Word of the Day
 
October 8, 2015
 
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awkward (adjective, interjection) sound LISTEN icon
 
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Awkward is an adjective that can mean clumsy, unskillful, embarrassing, or physically uncomfortable. In addition, it is often used in everyday conversation to mean emotionally uncomfortable and causing unease, and it is also an interjection used in situations that cause emotional discomfort or embarrassment.
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Example sentences
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Although Jessie loves soccer, she is awkward on the field.
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It was an awkward moment when John's pants fell down.
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The box is not heavy, but it's large and awkward to carry.
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It was so awkward when Ryan asked me on a date. I would never go out with him!
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Andrea gave you a bottle of wine even though you don't drink alcohol? Awkward!
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Multi-word forms
 
awkward silence: a longer-than-normal pause in conversation that makes people feel uncomfortable
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Other forms
 
awkwardly (adverb), awkwardness (noun)
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See full definition
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Learn more about awkward in our forums
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Did you know?
 
People frequently use awkward to describe a person who seems out of place in a group, is shy, or does not act appropriately or as expected in social situations. This is a word that native speakers say all the time but that learners sometimes feel awkward using, often because it does not have a direct translation in many languages.
 
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Origin

Awkward dates back to 1300-50. It was first used in Middle English, and had two parts: "awk(e)" or "auk(e)" meaning "wrong" or "off" and "ward" meaning "going toward" or "turned toward." "Awk(e)" or "auk(e)" comes from Old English "*afoc" or "afu(h)lic." Other ancient words awkward may be related to are "ǫfgur" in Old Norse, meaning "turned the wrong way" and similar words in Old Saxon and Old High German.

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