From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishawkwardawk‧ward /ˈɔːkwəd $ ˈɒːkwərd/ ●●○S3 adjective1EMBARRASSEDmaking you feel embarrassed so that you are not sure what to do or saySYN difficultI 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.an awkward silenceA 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).► see thesaurus at embarrassed2EMBARRASSEDCLUMSYnot relaxed or comfortableShe 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.3DIFFICULTdifficult to do, use, or deal withIt’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.► see thesaurus at difficult4CONVENIENTnot convenientI’m sorry to call at such an awkward time but I won’t keep you a minute.5HELPan awkward person is deliberately unhelpfulSYN difficultawkward aboutThe 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.
Examples from the Corpus
awkward• She may appearstiff and perhaps awkward.• Do you have to be so awkward about everything?• I didn't know anyone at the party, and I felt really awkward at first.• The Department can be very awkward at times.• It was really awkward, because she and Rachel don't get along.• She felt awkward in her high-heeled shoes.• This, with his stupidloyalty and his awkward maleness, she found touching.• For one awkwardmoment I thought I had said something terribly wrong.• Seals are awkward on land, but graceful in the water.• He's at an age when kids start asking awkward questions - like 'Where do babies come from?'• Whilst the others joked, drank and flirted, they would sit in awkwardseriousness.• If Jack had been at all concerned that his impulsivegesture would result in an awkwardsilence he need not have worried.• an awkward silence• Carrie laughed out loud, and there was an awkward silence.• an awkwardteenager• I'm sorry, have I called at an awkward time?• The camera is awkward to use.• Bud turned round and gave an awkwardwave out of the car window.• Getting in and out of the water is awkward when you're wearing flippers.• the awkwardwording of the letterawkward silence• Spider said after an awkward silence.• When we got to the restaurant, there was an awkward silence as I took out my taperecorder.• There was another awkward silence, broken by the laughter from the bar.• An awkward silence fell between them.• If Jack had been at all concerned that his impulsive gesture would result in an awkward silence he need not have worried.• She figured the awkward silence was partly the result of people believing that only big topics were worthy of being discussed.• There was an awkward silence which Maidstone might have broken with some amiableremark to save Sandison's face.• An awkward silence would do them both good.awkward customer• Perhaps pressure from his local boss or party secretary would revise the awkward customer's views in an acceptabledirection.Originawkward(1500-1600)awk“turned the wrong way”((15-17 centuries)) (from Old Norseöfugr) + -ward