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Awkward   /ˈɑkwərd/  /ˈɔkwərd/   Listen
Awkward

adjective
1.
Causing inconvenience.
2.
Lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance.  "An awkward gesture" , "Too awkward with a needle to make her own clothes" , "His clumsy fingers produced an awkward knot"
3.
Difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape.  Synonyms: bunglesome, clumsy, ungainly.  "A load of bunglesome paraphernalia" , "Clumsy wooden shoes" , "The cello, a rather ungainly instrument for a girl"
4.
Not elegant or graceful in expression.  Synonyms: clumsy, cumbersome, ill-chosen, inapt, inept.  "A clumsy apology" , "His cumbersome writing style" , "If the rumor is true, can anything be more inept than to repeat it now?"
5.
Hard to deal with; especially causing pain or embarrassment.  Synonyms: embarrassing, sticky, unenviable.  "An awkward pause followed his remark" , "A sticky question" , "In the unenviable position of resorting to an act he had planned to save for the climax of the campaign"
6.
Socially uncomfortable; unsure and constrained in manner.  Synonyms: ill at ease, uneasy.  "Ill at ease among eddies of people he didn't know" , "Was always uneasy with strangers"



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"Awkward" Quotes from Famous Books



... among the group of girls, who without exception were all handsome, and he felt vexed and hurt that he met her in such vulgar and awkward circumstances. He felt stupid and awkward, and made up his mind to do what Beletski did. Beletski stepped to the table somewhat solemnly yet with confidence and ease, drank a glass of wine to Ustenka's health, ...
— The Cossacks • Leo Tolstoy

... Hohenstaufens his sympathy is with Gregory and Innocent. In the same vein is his praise of Peter the Hermit, whose motto was not the "action, action" of Demosthenes, but, "belief, belief." In the brief space of those suggestive though unequal discourses the speaker allows awkward proximity to some of the self-contradictions which, even when scattered farther apart, perplex his readers and render it impossible to credit his philosophy with more than a few strains of ...
— Thomas Carlyle - Biography • John Nichol

... readings of this word are "churl," or "cherl," in the best manuscripts; "client" in the common editions, and "clerk" supported by two important manuscripts. "Client" would perhaps be the best reading, if it were not awkward for the metre; but between "churl" and ''clerk" there can be little doubt that Mr Wright chose wisely when he preferred ...
— The Canterbury Tales and Other Poems • Geoffrey Chaucer

... Malachi called her, was an awkward accession to the family. Silence Withers knew no more about children and their ways and wants than if she had been a female ostrich. Thus it was that she found it necessary to send for a woman well known in the place as the first friend whose acquaintance ...
— The Guardian Angel • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... sir, is in my humble opinion much like talking of a recruit's judgment. If we were to take the movements of the awkward squad, sir, as a guide, we should never form a decent line in battalion, ...
— The Pathfinder - The Inland Sea • James Fenimore Cooper

... Dogs," mused George regretfully, "it 'ud be dead easy; but Father says it wouldn't be fair t' the fellers that hasn't a racin' stable t' pick from. We got t' use some o' the untried ones. I been thinkin' o' Spot for a leader. He seems sort o' awkward, 'cause he's raw-boned, an' ain't filled out yet; but all the other dogs like him, an' he'd ruther run ...
— Baldy of Nome • Esther Birdsall Darling

... to an unusual degree the imagination of the reader. Mr. Held's prose possesses a fluency and grace that bring it close to the professional quality, and its few faults are far less considerable than might be expected from the pen of a young author. However, we must remark some rather awkward examples of grammatical construction. The correct plural of "eucalyptus" is "eucalypti", without any final "s", the name being treated as a Latin noun of the second declension. "Slowly and dignified—it pursues its way" is hardly a permissible clause; the adjective "dignified" must be exchanged ...
— Writings in the United Amateur, 1915-1922 • Howard Phillips Lovecraft

... (on March 12th) the Centre was passed; and on the 17th, while going from Woodforde Creek through the bad country towards the Bonney, Thring met with an awkward accident, which his leader thus describes: "Being anxious to keep my old tracks through the scrub, as it does not wear the saddle-bags so much as breaking through a new line, I missed them about two miles after starting, in consequence of ...
— Explorations in Australia, The Journals of John McDouall Stuart • John McDouall Stuart

... was afoot very early in the morning. It was hardly light, and the deep scratch of finger-nails on his face—it is so awkward when drunken fools wake at the wrong minute—attracted no attention from the few people he encountered. He did not give them long to look at him, for he hurried swiftly through the streets, towards the quays where the ships lay loading ...
— Half a Hero - A Novel • Anthony Hope

... book Le Bovarysme, I glanced through it with but a faint interest and threw it aside. (I had done the same some years before, perhaps as stupidly, who knows? with the Matiere et Memoire of the rival philosopher who has since become so magnificently prosperous in the world.) The awkward and ill-chosen title offended me, as it offends me still, and Gaultier had then scarcely attained the full personal charm of his grave, subdued, and reticent style. But another book arrived from the same author, and yet another, and I began to feel the attraction of this new thinker and to grasp ...
— Impressions And Comments • Havelock Ellis

... surprised me by exclaiming, "What are you doing here?" and, "Won't you miss the offensive which is about to begin?" Now, what would a Brass Hat say in such an awkward emergency? Would he look wise or unwise when he said it? Trying to look unwise, I replied: "They have the men now and can strike any time that they please. It's not my place to know where or when. I asked for leave and they gave it." I was quite relieved and felt that I was almost ...
— My Second Year of the War • Frederick Palmer

... went on pleasantly enough, until a great awkward giant, named Bob, came and looked very hard at us. At first we did not like him; but he was really very kind, and called us "Ducky, ducky, ducky!" and threw us handfuls of barley. He then seized two or three of my fattest brothers and sisters, and frightened ...
— The Nursery, February 1873, Vol. XIII. - A Monthly Magazine for Youngest People • Various

... known and acceptable to the king partly from his having formerly appeared as envoy of the senate at the Mauretanian court, partly from the commendations of the Mauretanian envoys destined for Rome to whom Sulla had rendered services on their way. Marius was in an awkward position. His declining the suggestion would probably lead to a breach; his accepting it would throw his most aristocratic and bravest officer into the hands of a man more than untrustworthy, who, as every one knew, played a double game with the Romans and with Jugurtha, and who seemed almost ...
— The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) • Theodor Mommsen

... "I told you it was silly to send so far on so sudden an occasion; now, after all, what is to be done—it will be so awkward when Clara's friends call to see her—Oh! John, John, you ...
— Precaution • James Fenimore Cooper

... It was an awkward moment. Leclerc hoped that Toussaint would lead the conversation. But Toussaint was deep in thought. Gazing on the anxious and sickly face of the Captain-General, he was grieving at heart that he, and so many thousands more who might have lived long and useful ...
— The Hour and the Man - An Historical Romance • Harriet Martineau

... camp, an' what he wanted there. An' seein' nobody outside uh Horner knows I'm in on this play, I reckon I better go m'self. If there should happen t' be a stray trooper hangin' round there, the same would be mighty awkward for you fellers. So I'll go. You poke along the trail slow, ...
— Raw Gold - A Novel • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... prospect did not please Judge Colfax as much as it did me; there was an awkward moment in which he looked from one to the other of us with the same expression as he had worn when he had observed my interest in his daughter in our first meeting. Then, as on the former occasion, ...
— The Blue Wall - A Story of Strangeness and Struggle • Richard Washburn Child

... oftener over or through a mass of guano many feet in thickness, into which our guides more than once sank suddenly, emerging in a state which can be better imagined than described. Split palms were laid across the most awkward places; but it was extremely difficult to keep one's footing on this primitive causeway, and despite the assistance of the gentlemen, who carried me across many of the streams, it was impossible ...
— The Last Voyage - to India and Australia, in the 'Sunbeam' • Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey

... waved tall, dotted with disks of clover. Benny was home, and he had been over to see Annie every day since his return. That morning when Annie looked out of her window the first thing she saw was Benny waving a scythe in awkward sweep among the grass and clover. An immense pity seized her at the sight. She realized that he was doing this for her, conquering his indolence. She ...
— The Copy-Cat and Other Stories • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... wound, and weariness, and discomfiture, I have spent a drearier time than the morning of that same Sunday. After the first awkward feeling had passed off, my captors showed themselves civil, and almost friendly, after their fashion. They were very like big school-boys—those honest Volunteers—prone to rough jokes and rude horse-play among themselves, which ...
— Border and Bastille • George A. Lawrence

... if she can't tell us," said Henri. And as soon as they had had their breakfast, they slipped around to the kitchen. Henri and Frank both laughed, for they surprised half a dozen blushing, awkward infantrymen, who were receiving hot coffee and rolls—fare of a different sort from that ...
— The Boy Scouts on the Trail • George Durston

... ever heard of,—I own there was something temptingly discussible in the circumstance; and knowing that fine relish for personal topics which distinguishes the American conversazione, how could I hope to escape? At first, it was a little awkward, when I went to a party, to see people who were talking together glance at me and murmur on with increased interest. Sometimes, when the wave of talk retreated a little, I would catch the prattle of some retiring rill to this effect: "But who are these Hurribattles? ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., April, 1863, No. LXVI. - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics. • Various

... decidedly awkward to get dust in your eye when you want to figure as a hero, for the eyes will water, and must be wiped, and that looks particularly like weeping. Stephen refrained from using his handkerchief as long as he could; but it ...
— The Fifth Form at Saint Dominic's - A School Story • Talbot Baines Reed

... that there is nothing that helps to ease you over one of these awkward moments like a spot of stage business. Find something to do with your hands, and it's half the battle. I grabbed ...
— Right Ho, Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... you look at it sensibly it's about the best illness anybody could have in hot weather like this. You've got to keep them warm. The weather does it for you. If it was typhoid now, and you'd got to keep them cool—that would be awkward. Not but it passes me how anybody can ...
— The Great Adventure • Arnold Bennett

... Ellen and she threw her arms round the kind old woman as she spoke "I won't trouble you and you won't be troubled if I am awkward about ...
— The Wide, Wide World • Elizabeth Wetherell

... secret jealousy at the rising fortunes of the cardinal Mendoza, could no longer brook the ascendency which that prelate's consummate sagacity and insinuating address had given him over the counsels of his young sovereigns. After some awkward excuses, he abruptly withdrew to his own estates; nor could the most conciliatory advances on the part of the queen, nor the deprecatory letters of the old king of Aragon, soften his inflexible temper, or induce him to resume his station at the court; until it soon became ...
— History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella V1 • William H. Prescott

... has now become a recognized principle in the make-up of magazines of larger size. At first, Bok's readers objected, but he explained why he did it; that they were the benefiters by the plan; and, so far as readers can be satisfied with what is, at best, an awkward method of presentation, they were content. To-day the practice is undoubtedly followed to excess, some magazines carrying as much as eighty and ninety columns over from the front to the back; from such abuse it will, of course, free itself either ...
— The Americanization of Edward Bok - The Autobiography of a Dutch Boy Fifty Years After • Edward William Bok

... it was Baby; but certainly not the awkward child of a month, of a week, of a day, or even an hour ago. It was Baby transformed, nay transfigured, as if by magic. Whether the change had been gradual and imperceptible, or as sudden as Cleopatra imagined it to have been, the elder girl did not stop to think; she simply allowed her eyes ...
— Too Old for Dolls - A Novel • Anthony Mario Ludovici

... said Lewis, softly. He laid his arm across her shoulders in an awkward gesture of affection. "Tell me, Nat. Who was ...
— Through stained glass • George Agnew Chamberlain

... The Illustrated News; I read the article with great interest, and subsequently studied the stone itself as well as its awkward position in its nook in the steeple would allow me. Your secret, I need hardly say, was faithfully kept till the receipt of the news assured me that it need be a secret no longer. I may just mention that the clerk thinks that the sovereign you left will be quite enough to defray ...
— George Borrow and His Circle - Wherein May Be Found Many Hitherto Unpublished Letters Of - Borrow And His Friends • Clement King Shorter

... less skilled. It is the Socialis, and he finds his subsistence properly in various seeds and the larvae of insects, though he occasionally has higher aspirations, and seeks to emulate the peewee, commencing and ending his career as a flycatcher by an awkward chase after a beetle or "miller." He is hunting around in the dull grass now, I suspect, with the desire to indulge this favorite whim. There!—the opportunity is afforded him. Away goes a little cream-colored meadow-moth in the ...
— Wake-Robin • John Burroughs

... or some one else, would have attempted a facetious reply to Mr. Watson; but just then a tall, gaunt, grey-haired, grizzly-bearded man stepped upon the piazza, and saluted the little gathering with an awkward wave of the hand. The not unkindly expression of his face was curiously heightened (or deepened) by the alertness of his eyes, which had the quizzical restlessness we sometimes see in the eyes of birds or animals. ...
— Mingo - And Other Sketches in Black and White • Joel Chandler Harris

... named Hylobates or "tree-walkers" for they are entirely arboreal and, although awkward and almost helpless on the ground, once their long thin hands touch a branch they become transformed as by ...
— Camps and Trails in China - A Narrative of Exploration, Adventure, and Sport in Little-Known China • Roy Chapman Andrews and Yvette Borup Andrews

... friends are firing from the other side as they are. But when they do look down it will be rather awkward for ...
— The Kopje Garrison - A Story of the Boer War • George Manville Fenn

... while the outer pier of the arch,—if pier we may term it,—worn to a skeleton, and jutting outwards with a knee-like angle, presents the appearance of a thin ungainly leg and splay foot, advanced, as if in awkward courtesy, to the breakers. But in a winter or two, judging from its present degree of attenuation, and the yielding nature of its material, which resembles a damaged mass of arrow-root, consolidated by lying ...
— The Cruise of the Betsey • Hugh Miller

... walks as awkwardly as a swallow, which is as awkward as a man in a bag, and yet she manages to lead her young about the woods. The latter, I think, move by leaps and sudden spurts, their protective coloring shielding them most effectively. Wilson once came upon the mother bird and her brood in the woods, and, though they ...
— Locusts and Wild Honey • John Burroughs

... smiling shrug, and passed on his way along the array of booths. His presence was a check on many a rustic drinker. His glance, dropped here and there, saved more than one sheep from the shearer. But his own face fell, and he stopped in astonishment, when an awkward figure was pushed against him, and he recognized his ...
— Old Kaskaskia • Mary Hartwell Catherwood

... was used officially in public speaking, and professors were sent by the Inca family into the provinces to teach it correctly. For poetry, the Quichua language was not very well adapted, owing to the difficult conjugation of the verbs, and the awkward blending of pronouns with substantives. Nevertheless, the poetic art was zealously cultivated under the Incas. They paid certain poets (called the Haravicus), for writing festival dramas in verse, and also for composing love-songs and heroic ...
— Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests • J. J. von Tschudi

... lead her into the priest's house, and she did not make any of the awkward draggings back, or ridiculous scenes of grimace sometimes exhibited on these occasions; but blushing rosy red, yet with more self-possession than could have been expected from her timid nature, she gave her hand to the man she ...
— The Absentee • Maria Edgeworth

... advise you to, in most cases, but at present it may be as well to let things remain as they are, as it will save an awkward explanation." ...
— The Young Adventurer - or Tom's Trip Across the Plains • Horatio Alger

... right, too. And with no body shield to supplement his rather awkward swordsmanship, Flor was fresh meat for the first real fighting man that stood up to him." Meinora ...
— Millennium • Everett B. Cole

... tell you, my dear lord? Croesus is a youth like other youths; he is tall, like other youths; he is awkward, like other youths; he has black hair, as they all have who come from the Indies. Lodgings have been taken for him ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... about Faithful Fannie, though, as there is about all unusually plain persons. Not that she was positively homely. Her features were regular enough, I suppose. But she was such a tall, slim, colorless, neutral creature! And awkward! You've seen a young turkey, all legs and neck, with its silly head bobbing above the tall grass? Well, something like that. And as I never read at my meals I had nothing else to do but study that sallow, unmoving face of hers with its steady, emotionless, ...
— Torchy, Private Sec. • Sewell Ford

... Post says: 'A story of adventure on sea and land, which boys will read with avidity, for Jack, among other things, had to find the way out of a very awkward predicament.' ...
— Adventures in Many Lands • Various

... Jean, "it's absurd of you to talk like that. As if you didn't know that you are infinitely more attractive than any young girl. I never know why people talk so much about youth. What does being young matter if you're awkward and dull and shy as well? I'd far ...
— Penny Plain • Anna Buchan (writing as O. Douglas)

... in being thus waited upon by a young and handsome woman, and the ranger submitted to it with the awkward grace of one unaccustomed to feminine care. The knowledge that the girl was beneath him in birth, and that she was considered to be (in a sense) the lovely flower of a corrupt stock, made the manifest innocency of her voice and eyes the more appealing. He watched her moving about the room ...
— Cavanaugh: Forest Ranger - A Romance of the Mountain West • Hamlin Garland

... replied the guide. "The ledge is narrow farther in, and it would be awkward if the basket caught against the rock. It might cause him to make a false step, and it would be a ...
— The Crystal Hunters - A Boy's Adventures in the Higher Alps • George Manville Fenn

... have been eating MOUSE! . . . No wonder I feel ill. . . . But perhaps I should feel worse if I had really swallowed a patty-pan!" Duchess reflected—"What a very awkward thing to have to explain to Ribby! I think I will put MY pie in the back-yard and say nothing about it. When I go home, I will run round and take it away." She put it outside the back-door, and sat down again by the fire, and shut her eyes; when Ribby arrived with the doctor, ...
— The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter • Beatrix Potter

... artlessness. Not wishing to be involved in the matter, she said a few words to Wenceslas, who in his joy hugged her then and there. She had no doubt pushed out a plank to enable the artist to cross this awkward ...
— Poor Relations • Honore de Balzac

... wonderful thing about story writing), and it is much more difficult to tell how it is done. One word here, a clear descriptive phrase there, and Tom, or the Squire, or the old schoolmistress, or Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid with her awkward name, has become so much of a personality that you cannot forget if you would. Certainly one of the fine things about Tom, the Water Baby is the living reality of its characters, which appeals universally to young and old, even in the ...
— Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 10 - The Guide • Charles Herbert Sylvester

... them as she passed; and again Ambrose felt as though she were speaking specially to him. He was not going to be a good boy. That he knew, but he would not think about it. It was pleasanter to fix his thoughts on all the advantages to be gained if David would only agree to his proposal, and make no awkward objections. He would tell him that very evening after tea, when they were going to fix a new shelf in the museum. Both the boys had been taught the use of saw and plane by the village carpenter, and were quite used to doing odd jobs for themselves. David in particular excelled in anything ...
— Penelope and the Others - Story of Five Country Children • Amy Walton

... child, of great energy, saw that god of gods, the lord of Uma, seated with the daughter of Himavat, amid a swarm of ghostly creatures. Those ghostly creatures, of emaciated bodies, were of wonderful features. They were ugly and of ugly features, and wore awkward ornaments and marks. Their faces were like those of tigers and lions and bears and cats and makaras. Others were of faces like those of scorpions; others of faces like those of elephants and camels and owls. And some had faces like those of ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... proportions of the one brought out the irregular build of the other; the classical face made the plain one more homely, the erect bearing made the eye turn to the slouching carriage, and the readiness of address provoked comparison with the awkward diffidence of one disregarded at home. Bashfulness and depression had regained their hold of the elder lad almost as the younger one entered, and in the changes of position consequent upon the new arrival, he fell into the background, ...
— Hopes and Fears - scenes from the life of a spinster • Charlotte M. Yonge

... the doctor's little guest. It would have been a hard-hearted person indeed who did not enter somewhat into the spirit of the child's delight. In spite of its being the first time she had ever sat at any table but her grandmother's, she was not awkward or uncomfortable, and was so hungry that she gave pleasure to her entertainers in that way if no other. The doctor leaned back in his chair and waited while the second portion of pudding slowly disappeared, ...
— A Country Doctor and Selected Stories and Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... into the latitude of Port Jackson, the crew was put on two quarts of water a man, three quarts having been stipulated for in the articles. This produced a mutiny, the men refusing duty. This was awkward enough, in that distant sea. The captain took advantage of the men's going below, however, to secure the scuttle and keep them there. He then mustered us, who lived aft, six men and three boys, and laid the question before us, ...
— Ned Myers • James Fenimore Cooper

... the group of students in the hope of seeing the strange person. A girl studying art, or anything else for that matter, seemed to him to be as incongruous as for a boy to learn dress-making or for a woman to open a barber-shop. He knew her type, he said to himself: she would be thin and awkward, with an aggressive voice that would jar on the stillness of the room. And she would believe in the doctrines of Elizabeth Cady Stanton—a name never mentioned by his mother except apologetically and in a low voice—and when she became older she would address meetings ...
— The Fortunes of Oliver Horn • F. Hopkinson Smith

... impulse of the moment a man proceeds to make love, he generally does it up ship-shape; but if he, with malice aforethought, lays deliberate plans, he finds it the most awkward traverse to work in the world to follow them—but I did not know this. I sat by the table, and in my embarrassment kept pushing the solitary taper farther and farther from me, until at last over it went, and ...
— Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 3. March 1848 • Various

... thing I told Quarles, on his arrival, was my adventure last night, and the awkward fact that two people ...
— The Master Detective - Being Some Further Investigations of Christopher Quarles • Percy James Brebner

... sharp whistles. Mahon, with a puzzled frown, looked from the front door. An awkward little broncho was trotting past the corner of the house ...
— The Return of Blue Pete • Luke Allan

... it through with a gay courage that was wonderful to see. Previously wounded in France, he yet seemed, though he cannot possibly have been in ignorance, to be buoyed up with the perfect faith in recovery with which fractured spines so often are endowed; never asking me awkward questions, he made it so easy for me to do his daily dressing, so grateful for small attentions, and so ready to believe me when I told him that it was only a question of weeks before he would be home again. And in spite of all fears ...
— Sketches of the East Africa Campaign • Robert Valentine Dolbey

... myriad of objects for wonder and admiration, that all eyes were directed to the different specimens, while every ear was open to drink in the descriptions given by Mr Inglis. One of the curiosities was a long, thin black ribbon, coiled and twisted about in all sorts of awkward bends and curves; and this Mr Inglis told them was a curious worm that lay with one end—the tail—firmly anchored to a stone, while with the head it seized the first thing that touched it as it swam by. ...
— Hollowdell Grange - Holiday Hours in a Country Home • George Manville Fenn

... those engaged in it. Not unfrequently, however, a gored horse or a mutilated rider is produced by the "coleo;" and fatal accidents have occurred at times. The horses, too, sometimes stumble, and both horse and rider are trampled by the others crowding from behind, so that in the pellmell drive awkward accidents are anything but uncommon. The coleo is, therefore, a game of strength, courage, and skill; and to excel in it is an object of high ambition among the youth of ...
— The White Chief - A Legend of Northern Mexico • Mayne Reid

... Commandant answered gravely, "I am happy to tell you there has been no wreck. True, a vessel in distress—a large liner—had found herself among the Hell-deeps, of all abominably awkward places. But by the mercy of Heaven she managed to extricate herself, and has dropped anchor, not half an ...
— Major Vigoureux • A. T. Quiller-Couch

... not be allowed to use their fingers to aid themselves in eating. If their hands are too small or too awkward to use a fork, a piece of bread or cracker may be held in the left hand to aid in pushing the food upon the ...
— Science in the Kitchen. • Mrs. E. E. Kellogg

... were to be submitted to the assembly. The constitutional means of preventing tribunes from carrying unwise or unwelcome measures lay in a consul's veto, or in the help of the College of Augurs, who could declare the auspices unfavorable, and so close all public business. These resources were so awkward that it had been found convenient to secure beforehand the Senate's approbation, and the encroachment, being long submitted to, was passing by custom into a rule. But the Senate, eager as it was, had not yet succeeded in engrafting the practice into the constitution. On the land question the ...
— Caesar: A Sketch • James Anthony Froude

... displeased her. She asked Alice to play croquet with her, but they had no rules; they had live flamingoes for mallets, and the soldiers had to stand on their hands and feet to form the hoops. It was extremely awkward, especially as the balls were hedgehogs, who sometimes rolled away without being hit. The Queen had a great quarrel with the Duchess, and wanted to ...
— The Worlds Greatest Books - Vol. II: Fiction • Arthur Mee, J. A. Hammerton, Eds.

... it with his tiny jaws, studded with sharp little teeth. Thus their contest holds the stone firmly in place. The whole forms a pretty symbol of the human soul, battled for by the good and the evil principles. But the diamond seems, in its entirety, to be an awkward mouthful for either. The snakes are wrought with marvellous dexterity and finish; each separate scale is distinguishable upon their glistening bodies, the wrinkling of the skin in the coils, the sparkling points ...
— Idolatry - A Romance • Julian Hawthorne

... that the parting would excite her most painfully, but she smiled joyously into her playmate's face, when he bade her farewell, for she took the matter in her usual way, not as it really was, but as she imagined it to be. Instead of the awkward Ulrich of the present, the fairy-prince he was now to become stood before her; he was to return without fail at Christmas, and then how delightful it would be to play with him again. Of late they had been together even more than usual, continually seeking for the ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... Alaric, with quick instinct, reciprocated the feeling. Mrs. Woodward, even, assumed involuntarily somewhat of a company air; and Uncle Bat, who sat at the bottom of the table, in the place usually assigned to Norman, was awkward in doing the honours of the house to guests who were in fact much more at home there ...
— The Three Clerks • Anthony Trollope

... organs like yours Is hardly safe to step out of doors! Just fancy a horse that comes full pelt, But as quiet as if he was shod with felt, Till he rushes against you with all his force, And then I needn't describe of course, While he kicks you about without remorse, How awkward it is to be groomed by a horse! Or a bullock comes, as mad as King Lear, And you never dream that the brute is near, Till he pokes his horn right into your ear, Whether you like the thing or lump it, - And all for want ...
— Playful Poems • Henry Morley

... antiquated nor ungraceful. But Philip's scrawl was like that of 'a' clown just admitted to a writing-school, and the whole margin of a fairly penned despatch perhaps fifty pages long; laid before him for comment and signature by Idiaquez or Moura, would be sometimes covered with a few awkward sentences, which it was almost impossible to read, and which, when deciphered, were apt to ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... Hotel doors closed. Have rung several times—no result at present. Curious impression that I shall be hauled up before a Dean or somebody for this to-morrow and fined or gated. Wish they'd let me in—chilly out here. Is there a night-porter? If not—awkward. Carillon again from Cathedral tower. Ghost has managed to recollect a whole tune at last, picking it out with one finger. Seem to have heard it before—what the Dickens is it? Recognise it as the "Mandolinata in E." Remember ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 102, June 11, 1892 • Various

... patriotic Dorris ends with a little sob in her voice, and L'Estrange welcomes the entrance of the host and hostess of the old-time mansion, as it covers the awkward emotion of the moment. As he advances to pay his devoirs to them Keith Endicott seizes his opportunity to say softly, as he bends over the head buried in ...
— The New England Magazine, Volume 1, No. 5, Bay State Monthly, Volume 4, No. 5, May, 1886 • Various

... rehearsal, however, people were taken by surprise. If the Princess did well, the young Prince did better. Priscilla had completely dropped her role of the awkward and gauche girl. From the first there had been vigor and promise in her acting. To-night there was not only vigor, but tenderness— there was a passion in her voice which arose now and then to power. She was so completely in sympathy with her ...
— A Sweet Girl Graduate • Mrs. L.T. Meade

... comply with this suggestion. He endeavoured also very much to control his redundancy of action and gesture, when that peculiarity was pointed out to him with the delicacy, but the sincerity, of friendship. He entirely freed himself from a very awkward feature of his first style of speaking, namely, the frequent repetition of a sentence, which seemed at first a habit inveterate with him; but such was his force of will, that when the necessity of ridding himself ...
— Lord George Bentinck - A Political Biography • Benjamin Disraeli

... marabou. It stalks about the great sandy plains of Central Africa with a composure and lordly grandeur, as if it were the most beautiful bird in the world. Its body feathers are of a dull metallic green color, and its wings and tail are dingy black. Looking at the awkward creature, no one would suspect that under its ungainly wings it carried the most exquisite and fairy-like little plumes, so airy that it takes basketfuls of them to weigh an ounce. They are pure white, and so much desired ...
— Harper's Young People, May 11, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly • Various

... personal danger that his example inspired the men for the strong counter attacks which later took place. For his splendid leadership and initiative he was afterwards awarded the Military Cross. Capt. Grey Burn and his company on the right were having an awkward time from enemy snipers, but he organised his now small numbers very carefully, and personally kept the enemy under close observation. Seeing an enemy concentration in progress, evidently for a counter-attack, he quickly gave information, and the ...
— The Seventh Manchesters - July 1916 to March 1919 • S. J. Wilson

... words of thanks, imitating, as far as he could, the Haitian dialect, but, despite his desire to act the part, feeling awkward in receiving charity. ...
— Plotting in Pirate Seas • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... baulked them. Sweating from their awkward exertions inside the hot space-suits, they again and again brushed clean the plates with pieces of waste—only to see the feathery particles regather as quickly as they were cleared away. There wasn't more than an inch of the fungus, but that inch ...
— Hawk Carse • Anthony Gilmore

... path under the hill, stopping at the churches and gossiping at the inns. You can trace the old road clearly through Seale to Puttenham, where it must have travelled south of the church door, instead of taking the awkward and unnecessary turn to the north which is taken by the modern road. Then at Puttenham the pilgrims would divide again. Some would journey straight on across Puttenham Heath, heading towards St. Catherine's Hill—you can see the ...
— Highways and Byways in Surrey • Eric Parker

... effectually as if a door had been closed behind me. But distrust and suspicion gave way the next moment to the natural embarrassment of the man who finds himself in a false position and knows he can escape from it only by an awkward explanation. ...
— A Gentleman of France • Stanley Weyman

... we should from time to time communicate to the legislature of Virginia the proceedings of this body, and to express our own opinions of the prospect which may exist of the settlement of existing difficulties. The Commissioners from Virginia would be placed in a delicate, not to say an awkward position, by the adoption of a rule here which would absolutely prohibit such communications. I hope my amendment may ...
— A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention • Lucius Eugene Chittenden

... you won't," Sir Charles said, in an aggrieved voice. "If you had never seen Mark Ventmore you would have been married to Richford a year ago, in which case I should not stand in my present awkward position. But we are only wasting time. Help me on with this beard and then walk as far as the hall with me. Then you can give me a kiss, and I'll take a cab and ...
— The Slave of Silence • Fred M. White

... but I judged that it must have contained more strenuous injunctions. Or had Aunt Varina by any chance got up the courage to warn the young doctor against me? His hints, at any rate, became more pointed. He desired me to realize how awkward it would be for him, if Sylvia were to learn the truth; it would be impossible to convince Mr. van Tuiver that this knowledge had not come from the ...
— Sylvia's Marriage • Upton Sinclair

... his right foot, so as to make it bound along as far as 100 yards, and he and all the men behind him follow in the same trot as before. The first man reaching it again kicks it onward. It must never be touched by the hand, unless it happens to fall in some awkward place, as between stones or in a water-pool, when it is picked up ...
— Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) • Carl Lumholtz

... not go on living in it, as we were sure Tom would have wished us to do. Nancy was very sanguine as to how she could manage. Her plain, pock-marked face beamed as she spoke of getting three times as much work as before. Short and awkward as was her figure, Nancy had an heroic soul. Mary must continue to attend school, and in time would be able to do something to ...
— Peter Trawl - The Adventures of a Whaler • W. H. G. Kingston

... No. We were in the first saloon. But I thought the men would have heard her. She really lost her head. She was distinctly hysterical. It was a most awkward position for me. But—but I was resolved ...
— Bella Donna - A Novel • Robert Hichens

... and Montrose himself seems to me to be brought in with a skill which has too often escaped notice. For it would mar the story to deal with the tragedy of his end, and his earlier history is a little awkward to manage. Moreover, that faculty of hurrying on the successive tableaux which is so conspicuous in most of Scott's work, and so conspicuously absent in the Bride (where there are long passages with no action at all) is ...
— Sir Walter Scott - Famous Scots Series • George Saintsbury

... of housekeeping demands constant use of the hands. The teacher should be watchful of awkward handling of materials and utensils and be careful to correct it. She should require deft, natural movements ...
— Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Household Management • Ministry of Education

... the blessings of life to which we were accustomed. All listened to me attentively and seriously, but nevertheless the same identical thing happened with every one of them without exception. No sooner did my hearers comprehend the question, than they seemed to feel awkward and somewhat mortified. They seemed to be ashamed, and principally on my account, because I was talking nonsense, and nonsense which it was impossible to openly characterize as such. Some external cause ...
— The Moscow Census - From "What to do?" • Lyof N. Tolstoi

... own room, with the female servants about her, immersed in endless preparations for the approaching departure. The servants, little used in that family to sudden resolutions and unexpected orders, were awkward and confused in obeying directions. They ran from room to room unnecessarily, and lost time and patience in jostling each other on the stairs. If a stranger had entered the house that day, he might have imagined that an unexpected disaster had happened in it, instead ...
— No Name • Wilkie Collins

... that no noise might disturb the autocrat. The cook always spent this hour in walking exercise. Tony's plan was this: After Corrigan should be asleep he (Tony) and Burney would cut the mooring ropes that held the boat to the shore. Tony lacked the nerve to do the deed alone. Then the awkward boat would swing out into a swift current and surely overturn against a ...
— Sixes and Sevens • O. Henry

... in my company who was as brave and as good a soldier as ever lived, but beyond question the most awkward man in the army. His comrades called him "mucus," as some one said that was the Latin for "calf." This man would fall down any time and anywhere. Standing in the road or resting on his rifle, he would fall—fall while marching, or standing in his tent. I saw him climb on top ...
— History of Kershaw's Brigade • D. Augustus Dickert

... welcome which always accompanies honest minds: his table is the image of plenty and generosity, supported by justice and frugality. After we had dined here, our affair was to visit Avaro: out comes an awkward fellow with a careful countenance; "Sir, would you speak with my master? May I crave your name?" After the first preambles, he leads us into a noble solitude, a great house that seemed uninhabited; but from the end of the spacious hall moves towards us Avaro, with a suspicious aspect, ...
— The Tatler, Volume 1, 1899 • George A. Aitken

... Cotton wrote a despatch to the Madras Government, in which, after mentioning facts connected with the famines, he insisted, in strong and indignant language, that the improvements should go on. I believe that there was an allusion in the letter to the awkward look these things would have, pending the discussions on the Government of India, and I understand that it was agreed that the original letter, which countermanded the improvements, should be withdrawn, and that then the remonstrance ...
— Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, Volume 1 • John Bright

... or afflicted with a trick of observation," said Jessie, looking at the breakfast table. Mr. Hoopdriver put his hand to his moustache and then, thinking this might be another habit, checked his arm and stuck his hand into his pocket. He felt juiced awkward, to use his private formula. Jessie's eye wandered to the armchair, where a piece of binding was loose, and, possibly to carry out her theory of an observant disposition, she turned and asked ...
— The Wheels of Chance - A Bicycling Idyll • H. G. Wells

... beauty with the long brown curls and hazel eyes, who was casting coquettish looks at Jack Gills over the edge of her Testament, was Prillie Rogerson, whose father had recently married a second wife and brought Prillie home from her grandmother's in Grafton. A tall, awkward girl in a back seat, who seemed to have too many feet and hands, Anne could not place at all, but later on discovered that her name was Barbara Shaw and that she had come to live with an Avonlea aunt. She was also ...
— Anne Of Avonlea • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... become disciplined, though not in the manner that the regulars were, and had grown accustomed to seeing regiments dressed in uniforms; so that when the new levies came in, we felt some of the amusement of the regulars at their green and awkward ways. Gathered together from country villages, they came in the clothes they wore at home, and put me in mind of Falstaff's soldiers. Some wore long coats, some short coats, and some no coats at all. ...
— Ben Comee - A Tale of Rogers's Rangers, 1758-59 • M. J. (Michael Joseph) Canavan

... Wood's boat, but he was not a boatman; he painted cleverly, but he was not a painter. He kept the brown store under the elms of the main street, now hot and still, where at this moment his blushing sister was captivating the heart of an awkward farmer's boy, as she sold him a ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 9 • Various

... Hsi Jen and a whole posse of inmates then walked out. She felt inclined to go up to Pao-yue and ask him a question; but dreading that if she made any inquiries in the presence of such a company, Pao-yue would be put to the blush and placed in an awkward position, she slipped aside and allowed Pao-ch'ai to prosecute her way. And it was only after Pao-yue and the rest of the party had entered and closed the gate behind them that she at last issued from her retreat. Then fixing her gaze steadfastly on the gateway, ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... you what I mean," said Ingram slowly. "It is an awkward thing for a man to interfere between husband and wife, I am aware—he gets something else than thanks for his pains ordinarily—but sometimes it has to be done, thanks or kicks. Now, you know, Lavender, I had a good ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XII. No. 30. September, 1873 • Various

... subscribed the Thirty-nine Articles. Saving your presence, reader, his lordship was no better than a bigoted Socinian, which, in a petty diocese that he never visited, and amongst South Welshmen, that are all incorrigible Methodists, mattered little, but would have been awkward had he come to be Archbishop of York; and that he did not, turned upon the accident of a few weeks too soon, by which the Fates cut short the thread of the Whig ministry in 1807. Certainly, for a Romish or an English bishop to be a Socinian ...
— Theological Essays and Other Papers v1 • Thomas de Quincey

... Eighty steps that way. Zaidos counted. Again the man returned. Zaidos could feel his muscles stiffening, as if about to spring. He cautiously shifted to a position still nearer the partly open door and measured the opening. He felt heavy and awkward. He studied the dark opening. It did indeed look very narrow. He had squirmed through it without much trouble, but that was in the densest darkness, and he had taken all the time he needed. Now if the sentry should turn * * * Well, it would be the ...
— Shelled by an Unseen Foe • James Fiske

... had quite enough to do, I suppose. It's an awkward business. If it had been the pretty one, her beauty would have been our excuse. But the plain one—what do you suppose attracted him ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... fits your case. For you're innocent of the faults of your parents whatever they were, and you're innocent of my blunders. You're free to make your own life pleasant if you'll only put a bright face on it and make the best of an awkward business." ...
— Innocent - Her Fancy and His Fact • Marie Corelli

... to answer a criminal charge in a court of law. I hear that Melton, whose credit has held up the bank lately, is off to see his friend in Paris. They say Farnaby's niece is a handsome girl, and Melton is sweet on her. Awkward ...
— The Fallen Leaves • Wilkie Collins

... like to know? If yo'd been where a were once, north latitude 81, in such a frost as ye ha' niver known, no, not i' deep winter, and it were June i' them seas, and a whale i' sight, and a were off in a boat after her: an' t' ill-mannered brute, as soon as she were harpooned, ups wi' her big awkward tail, and struck t' boat i' her stern, and chucks me out into t' watter. That were cold, a can tell the'! First, I smarted all ower me, as if my skin were suddenly stript off me: and next, ivery bone i' my body had getten t' toothache, and there were a great roar i' my ears, an' ...
— Sylvia's Lovers, Vol. I • Elizabeth Gaskell

... prevented him from moving and he had turned in an awkward sitting position to face Hardy. All he could do was bring his gun up quickly and fire over his left shoulder. Hardy fired at the same instant. At such close ...
— The Space Pioneers • Carey Rockwell

... stupendous a moment that it would quickly have become awkward and anti-climacteric but for ...
— Children of the Whirlwind • Leroy Scott

... with perfect ease the idea in which "The Awkward Age" had its origin, but re-perusal gives me pause in respect to naming it. This composition, as it stands, makes, to my vision—and will have made perhaps still more to that of its readers—so considerable ...
— The Awkward Age • Henry James

... "Sure" from two or three voices, another awkward pause, and then Marjorie turned swiftly and with serpentlike intensity ...
— Flappers and Philosophers • F. Scott Fitzgerald

... is often left in the lurch at an awkward moment: hence genius, where real life is concerned, is more or less unpractical—its behaviour often reminds us ...
— We Philologists, Volume 8 (of 18) • Friedrich Nietzsche

... the purpose of our awkward parenthesis about the praise of the future and the failures of the past. A house of his own being the obvious ideal for every man, we may now ask (taking this need as typical of all such needs) why he hasn't got it; and whether it is in any ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... slight inclination of the head. We are further directed to tread on the middle of the stone, and not slip carelessly into the mud, and run the risk of splashing our neighbour. An Englishwoman, it is observed, either allows her petticoats to sweep the streets, or lifts them in an awkward manner, sometimes even using both hands; whereas a Parisian with her right hand gathers all the folds to that side, and raises the whole dress a little above the ankle, without fuss or parade. We would recommend our fair countrywomen ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 462 - Volume 18, New Series, November 6, 1852 • Various

... sewn outside, they acted like the sheets of a ship's sail, and pulled down the struggling circumference into two ugly projections, bellying out before and behind. However, women, for comfort's sake, having got an awkward article to deal with, preferred the latter alternative—tied down their hats with ribands, (men, be it remembered, at the same time, tied up their brims into the prim, high, cocked shape,) and called these ugly coverings "gipsy hats." We remember ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 57, No. 352, February 1845 • Various



Words linked to "Awkward" :   unwieldy, strained, laboured, cumbersome, wooden, difficult, hard, unmanageable, maladroit, ungraceful, gawky, labored, infelicitous, inconvenient, graceful, uncomfortable, ugly, awkwardness, graceless, unenviable, clunky



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