awkward Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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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 top eventually. [+ to infinitive] My car's quite awkward to drive. He's an awkward customer (= a difficult person to deal with).

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  • awkward adjective (EMBARRASSING)

B2 causing problems, 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 police asked 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   /ˈɔː.kwəd.nəs/  us   /ˈɑː.kwɚd.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 big box 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 feels embarrassed or nervous: We were the first to arrive at the party and felt a little awkward.
  • awkward adjective (LACKING GRACE)

lacking grace 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 girls disappeared once he got to college.
(Definition of awkward from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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