awkward Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “awkward” in the English Dictionary

"awkward" in British English

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awkwardadjective

uk   /ˈɔː.kwəd/  us   /ˈɑː.kwɚd/
  • awkward adjective (DIFFICULT)

B2 difficult to use, do, or ​deal with: It's an awkward ​corner, so take it ​slowly. Some of the ​questions were ​rather awkward. It was an awkward ​ascent, but we ​reached the ​topeventually. [+ to infinitive] My car's ​quite awkward todrive. He's an awkward customer (= a ​difficultperson to ​deal with).

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  • awkward adjective (EMBARRASSING)

B2 causingproblems, ​worry, or ​embarrassment: an awkward ​position/​situation There ​followed an awkward ​silence while we all ​tried to ​think of something to say. They'd ​chosen an awkward ​time to ​call as I'd just got into the ​bath. The ​policeasked some awkward ​questions about where the ​money had come from.C2 embarrassed or ​nervous: I always feel awkward when I'm with Chris - he's so ​difficult to ​talk to. He ​seemed a little awkward when I first ​met him.

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awkwardness
noun [U] uk   us   /-nəs/
In ​spite of the ​divorce, there was no awkwardness between them - in ​fact they ​seemed very much at ​ease.
(Definition of awkward from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"awkward" in American English

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awkwardadjective

 us   /ˈɔk·wərd/
  • awkward adjective (DIFFICULT)

difficult to use, do, or ​deal with: The ​computer came in a ​bigbox that was awkward to ​carry.
  • awkward adjective (ANXIOUS)

causing ​inconvenience, ​anxiety, or ​embarrassment: It was an awkward ​situation, because the ​restaurant was too ​expensive for us but we didn’t ​want to just get up and ​walk out. Someone who ​feels awkward ​feelsembarrassed or ​nervous: We were the first to ​arrive at the ​party and ​felt a little awkward.
  • awkward adjective (LACKING GRACE)

lackinggrace or ​skill when ​moving: He’s too awkward – he’ll never be a good ​dancer.
awkwardness
noun [U]  us   /ˈɔ·kwərd·nəs/
His awkwardness with ​girlsdisappearedonce he got to ​college.
(Definition of awkward from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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