awk-ward / ôk-wərd
1. lacking physical coordination or skill; clumsy
The awkward person always breaks the board in riding on the surf.
2. not graceful when moving
I didn’t grow up in the dance world, I didn’t grow up having dance lessons, so everything looks a little awkward and sometimes I get very publicly shamed for my awkwardness.
Katy Perry, 1984 –
3. difficult to handle; hard to use
Without handles it was awkward to carry; we had to bear it on our shoulders.
From “Carry Me” by Peter Behrens, ? –
Everyone has a childhood, everyone had awkward years and weird stages.
Tina Yothers, 1973 –
5. feeling ill at ease; uncomfortable
You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.
Brian Tracy, 1944 –
6. not easily handled, requiring skill, judgement and consideration
Order is never observed; it is disorder which attracts attention because it is awkward and intrusive.
Eliphas Levi, 1810 – 1875
7. difficult; hazardous
But do you find the grade awkward when she’s steaming properly?
From “Brandon of the Engineers” by Harold Bindloss, 1866 – 1945
The deeply-religious McKeon goes to Mass every day, and he wasn’t going to skip because the team arrived at an awkward hour.
Joe Frisaro, “Notes: Fish welcomed break”, http://www.mlb.com/mlb/ps/y2003/console/g6/news_story_4.jsp
From the Old Norse adjective ofugr (turning the wrong way) plus the English suffix -ward (in the direction of).
Thank you to Allen Ward for providing this etymology.