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Awkwardness   /ˈɔkwərdnəs/   Listen
Awkwardness

noun
1.
Unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training.  Synonyms: clumsiness, ineptitude, ineptness, maladroitness, slowness.
2.
The quality of an embarrassing situation.  Synonym: nuisance value.
3.
The carriage of someone whose movements and posture are ungainly or inelegant.  Synonym: clumsiness.
4.
The inelegance of someone stiff and unrelaxed (as by embarrassment).  Synonyms: clumsiness, gracelessness, stiffness.
5.
Trouble in carrying or managing caused by bulk or shape.  Synonyms: cumbersomeness, unwieldiness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Awkwardness" Quotes from Famous Books



... finer wits had already perceived something different from the ordinary display of English shyness in the young man, whose eyes remained fixed on her face with an intentness that savoured in no way, of awkwardness. She now broke the spell with a broader smile ...
— The Light of Scarthey • Egerton Castle

... But the few he had not called upon the day previous, appeared even less interested in his proposition. As he came out of the Pacific's establishment, he brushed against a heavy-set man with gray hair, who was just going in. Excusing himself for his awkwardness, he glanced at the stranger's face. It ...
— El Diablo • Brayton Norton

... literally looked down. We had come without a servant; and on arriving at the gate of the wood with neither human figure nor human habitation in sight, and a high-blooded and high-spirited horse in the phaeton, we began to feel all the awkwardness of our situation. My companion, however, at length espied a thin wreath of smoke issuing from a small clay-built hut thatched with furze, built against the steepest part of the hill, of which it seemed a mere excrescence, about half way down the declivity; and, on calling aloud, two ...
— The Ground-Ash • Mary Russell Mitford

... Ninian's tower is attributed by most historians to the awkwardness of the Highlanders, in attempting to destroy their ammunition. "I am apt to think it was an accident," observes Maxwell, "or, at least, the design of some very private person, for there was no warning given to any body to get out of the way. Nine or ten country people, and five of the Jacobite ...
— Memoirs of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745 - Volume III. • Mrs. Thomson

... of that enterprising periodical. I gave my consent without much thought of the effort involved, but as time passed, felt slight inclination to comply with the request. There seemed little to say of interest to the general public, and I was distinctly conscious of a certain sense of awkwardness in writing about myself at all. The question, Why should I? always ...
— Taken Alive • E. P. Roe

... the tenor, to which she, the dugazon, does not even try to listen; her eyes wandering listlessly over the audience. The calorous secret out, and in her possession, how she stumbles over her train to the back of the stage, there to pose in abject patience and awkwardness, while the gallant baritone, touching his sword, and flinging his cape over his shoulder, defies the world and the tenor, who is just recovering from his "ut de poitrine" behind ...
— Balcony Stories • Grace E. King

... The slight awkwardness their entrance produced, however, was quickly forgotten when the blanket was again lifted from the pan of treasure. Singularly enough, too, the same feverish light came into the eyes of each as they all gathered around this yellow shrine. Even the polite ...
— The Three Partners • Bret Harte

... simply, but without awkwardness. Then his horse came in and he held out his hand to the crestfallen jockey, whilst with his ...
— A Millionaire of Yesterday • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... said was: "Monsieur Marien, I recommend to you these little spiced cakes." And, with some awkwardness, because her hand was trembling, she held ...
— Jacqueline, v1 • Th. Bentzon (Mme. Blanc)

... was walking on the other side. When I saw that Harry's eye was upon me I aimed a blow at him intending however to miss him. He evaded the blow and turned fiercely round with his hoe uplifted, threatening to cut down any one who again attempted to strike him. Huckstep cursed my awkwardness, and told Harry to put down his hoe and came to him. He refused to do so and swore he would kill the first man who tried to lay hands on him. The cowardly tyrant shrank away from his enraged bondman, and for two weeks Harry was not ...
— The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus • American Anti-Slavery Society

... my cuteness in foreseeing this very thing and swapping trees to beat it. But, don't you know, there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... evident embarrassment. He took pains to be ceremoniously polite. Sam, who was used to the free and easy ways of a restaurant, hardly knew how to act. Henry Martin, though now thrown upon his own exertions, had been well brought up, and betrayed no awkwardness. ...
— Sam's Chance - And How He Improved It • Horatio Alger

... "perhaps?" But the noun which this author supplies, the meaning which he guesses that he had, he here very improperly stows away within a pair of crotchets. Nor is it true, that "the sentence should stand" as above exhibited; for the tautological correction not only has the very extreme of awkwardness, but still makes as a pronoun, a nominative, belonging after are: so that the phrase, "as are worn," is only encumbered and perverted by the verbose addition made. So of an other example given by this expounder, in which as is an objective: "He is exactly such a man as I saw."—Chandler's ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... firewood in the courtyard with the scolding assistance of a maid-servant. When the troopers entered to search for the master of the house, they heard the maid vehemently 'flyting' the great hulking lout for his awkwardness, and threatening to 'draw a stick across his back' if he did not ...
— The Red True Story Book • Various

... not the only one in the party who felt a new awkwardness and constraint. Jimmy Pendleton felt it, though he, too, tried not ...
— Pollyanna Grows Up • Eleanor H. Porter

... (impossibility) 471; tough work, hard work, uphill work; hard task, Herculean task, Augean task^; task of Sisyphus, Sisyphean labor, tough job, teaser, rasper^, dead lift. dilemma, embarrassment; deadlock; perplexity &c (uncertainty) 475; intricacy; entanglement, complexity &c 59; cross fire; awkwardness, delicacy, ticklish card to play, knot, Gordian knot, dignus vindice nodus [Lat.], net, meshes, maze; coil &c (convolution) 248; crooked path; involvement. nice point, delicate point, subtle point, knotty point; vexed question, vexata quaestio [Lat.], poser; puzzle ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... their acquaintance, but—another question!—would they like to receive her into their house? At all events, though she did not reject the idea of this marriage, she desired not to be hurried. As for the seventy-five thousand roubles, Mr. Totski need not have found any difficulty or awkwardness about the matter; she quite understood the value of money, and would, of course, accept the gift. She thanked him for his delicacy, however, but saw no reason why Gavrila Ardalionovitch should not ...
— The Idiot • (AKA Feodor Dostoevsky) Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... move from her silly standpoint, however; but when Dandy Jack blandly, and with many elaborate compliments, proceeded to lay our proposal for compromise before her, she eagerly grasped at it as an escape from the awkwardness of ...
— Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2) - or Settler and Maori in Northern New Zealand • William Delisle Hay

... the way in which he had been brought up, and about his hair and his freckles and his awkwardness. When he went to the theatre in Lincoln, he took a seat in the gallery, because he knew that he looked like a green country boy. His clothes were never right. He bought collars that were too high and neckties that were too bright, ...
— One of Ours • Willa Cather

... grown to man's stature and full of the awkwardness and self-consciousness of his new growth, was sitting on a cracker barrel at the back of Wildman's grocery. It was a summer evening and a breeze blew through the open doors swaying the hanging oil lamps that burned and sputtered overhead. As usual he was listening ...
— Windy McPherson's Son • Sherwood Anderson

... first few moments there was some slight awkwardness, for we were men, and we spoke seldom of the things which touched us most. Arthur, however, broke almost immediately into speech, and ...
— The Master Mummer • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... to him that the word "trust" sounded idiotic. Then, to cover his awkwardness, he coughed, and even to his own rosy ears his cough was ostentatiously a false one. Whereupon, seeking to be plausible, he coughed again, and instantly hated himself: the sound he made was an atrocity. ...
— The Magnificent Ambersons • Booth Tarkington

... performing their duty as firemen with that ease and celerity which are so necessary and desirable; but the gymnastic exercises, by bringing all the muscles of the body into action, and by aiding the more general development of the frame, tend greatly to remove or overcome this awkwardness. But its greatest advantage is the confidence it gives to the men when placed in certain situations of danger. A man, for example, in the third or fourth floor of a house on fire, who is uncertain as to his means of escape, in the event of his return by the stair being cut off, will not render ...
— Fire Prevention and Fire Extinction • James Braidwood

... been much sharper. But, added she, it was the uniform's fault; all the lads who donned the uniform became sad dolts. The fact is, his change of life had quite muddled Zephyrin, who, with his staring round eyes and solemn swagger, looked like a goose. Despite his epaulets he retained his rustic awkwardness and heaviness; the barracks had taught him nothing as yet of the fine words and victorious attitudes of the ideal Parisian fire-eater. "Yes, madame," Rosalie would wind up by saying, "you don't need to disturb yourself; it is not in him ...
— A Love Episode • Emile Zola

... others—whether through study of the best masters or through direct rhetorical instruction—is in the mechanical portion of the art; that is, how to put sentences together according to relation of clauses, how by position of words and phrases to avoid obscurity and awkwardness, and thus make most presentable and accessible what he has to give out. Even in these superficial lessons success imports something more than a superficial capacity. These lessons learnt, and you have still to go behind them for style, whose cradle is within you. Le style c'est l'homme ...
— Essays AEsthetical • George Calvert

... was two months to a day after his death before I could find a mate for the Dave ox, and then I had to take another five-year-old steer off the cattle range of Nebraska. This steer, Dandy, evidently had never been handled; but he came of good stock and, with the exception of awkwardness, gave me no serious trouble. Dandy was purchased out of the stockyard at Omaha. He then weighed 1,470 pounds, and the day before he went to see the President he tipped the scales at the 1,760-pound notch. Dandy proved to be a ...
— Ox-Team Days on the Oregon Trail • Ezra Meeker

... rather ineffectual connection so far as 'doing' anything is concerned, I needn't say how welcome you are to my testimony. What I mainly seem to grasp, I should say, is that in regard to testifying at all unlimitedly by the aid of the newspapers, I have to reckon with a certain awkwardness in our position. Here comes up, you see, the question of our reconciling a rather indispensable degree of reserve as to the detail of our activity with the general American demand for publicity at any price. There are ways in which the close presence of war challenges the whole ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 2, May, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... the two girls took a footpath leading across the fields. The stranger was greatly amused with Ellen's awkwardness in climbing fences. Where it was a possible thing, she was fain to crawl under; but once or twice that could not be done, and having with infinite difficulty mounted to the top rail, poor Ellen sat there in a most tottering condition, uncertain on which side of the fence she ...
— The Wide, Wide World • Susan Warner

... Like many other well-wishers, he contented him with sympathy. Max also betrayed some anxiety to know whether I knew how to dance; lest, when the ship's company went ashore, I should disgrace them by exposing my awkwardness in some of the sailor saloons. But I relieved ...
— Redburn. His First Voyage • Herman Melville

... nicer if Kate would have looked up readily, and said something kind and friendly; but the fit of awkwardness had come over her again, and with it a thought so selfish, that it can hardly be called otherwise than naughty—namely, that grown-up people in trouble were very tiresome, and never let young ...
— Countess Kate • Charlotte M. Yonge

... pride,—"He's a noble fellow," there had been a little tingling of the heart in Adele, which seemed to echo the words. Afterward had come that little glimpse of the world which her journey and intercourse with Maverick had afforded; and the country awkwardness of the Elderkins had somehow worked an eclipse of his virtues. Reuben, indeed, had comeliness, and had caught at that time some of the graces of the city; but Reuben was a tease, and failed in a certain ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 100, February, 1866 • Various

... have been accustomed to the phraseology of modem writers, if they persist in reading this book to a conclusion (impossible!) will, no doubt, have to struggle with feelings of awkwardness; (ha! ha! ha!) they will look round for poetry (ha! ha! ha! ha!), and will be induced to inquire by what species of courtesy these attempts have been permitted to assume that title.' Ha! ha! ha! ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 5 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... are too lazy to amount to anything in this life, so I reckon we'll have to make a school teacher of you." I don't know why he should have called me lazy; I suppose it must have been on account of my awkwardness. Lazy, why, I could sit all day and fish in one place and not get a bite, while my more industrious companions would, out of sheer exhaustion of patience, be compelled to move about; and I hold that patience is the very ...
— The Jucklins - A Novel • Opie Read

... it ain't the pain," the old sufferer yelled, "it's the dum awkwardness. I've chopped all my life; I can let an axe in up to the maker's name, and hew to a hair-line; yes, sir! It was jest them dum new mittens my wife made; they was s' slippery," he ...
— Other Main-Travelled Roads • Hamlin Garland

... annoyance was meant to punish. It has been suggested that it might be the man's pantomimic protest against sitting at all. But the saddest commentary upon this vice of our hero is, that by some mysterious magnetism of awkwardness and ill-breeding, he has betrayed into imitation of it men whose early education has been less neglected than ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 6, May 7, 1870 • Various

... Taylor. He said no; asked the young lady if she would wait, and showed her into the small inner room. There was a glass-pane in the partition dividing this room from the bar to enable the landlord to see if his visitors, who sat there, wanted anything. A curious awkwardness and melancholy about the behaviour of the girl who called, caused my informant to look frequently at her through the partition. She seemed weary of her life, and sat with her face buried in her hands, evidently quite out of her element in such a house. Then a ...
— Desperate Remedies • Thomas Hardy

... 24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of ...
— The Book Of Mormon - An Account Written By The Hand Of Mormon Upon Plates Taken - From The Plates Of Nephi • Anonymous

... an air of mingled astonishment and incredulity. The doctor, too much excited to receive with ordinary decorum information so important, made a sudden step up to the big embarrassed Australian, who stood before the fire gazing into vacancy, and looking the very embodiment of conscious awkwardness. Dr Rider stretched out both his hands and grasped the gigantic fist of the Bushman with an effusion which took that worthy altogether by surprise. "My dear fellow, I wish you joy—I wish you joy. Anything I can be of use to ...
— The Doctor's Family • Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

... adversaries upon the stage in sheer wantonness or bloodthirstiness. This is a mistake, and is attributable to his father, the elder Booth, who had the madness of confounding himself with the character. Wilkes was too good a fencer to make ugly gashes; his pride was his skill, not his awkwardness. Once ...
— The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth • George Alfred Townsend

... the meaning of the word aesthetics, they will tell you it is the French for affectation or the German for a dado; and if you inquire about the pre-Raphaelites you will hear something about an eccentric lot of young men to whom a sort of divine crookedness and holy awkwardness in drawing were the chief objects of art. To know nothing about their great men is one of the necessary ...
— Miscellanies • Oscar Wilde

... to recover the volumes, and promptly knocking his head against that of Billykins, who was also grovelling for the same purpose, while Nealie plunged into the business of their visit, hoping to divert the attention of the master of the house from the awkwardness of the boys, poor things; but Sylvia giggled in quite a disgraceful fashion, then blinked hard at a bust of Apollo which stood on a bookshelf opposite, and tried to look as if she were appreciating the admirable way ...
— The Adventurous Seven - Their Hazardous Undertaking • Bessie Marchant

... into the blue eyes that were raised to his, it was impossible for him to think of anything for which their owner was not good enough. This impression upon him was so strong that he said, with blurting awkwardness, that she looked charming as she was, and needed not the slightest change. The value of this impulsive remark was fully appreciated by Dora, but she gave no sign of it, and simply said that if ...
— The Girl at Cobhurst • Frank Richard Stockton

... had found the remaining chair in Timothy's commodious drawing-room. His advent had obviously put a stop to the conversation, decided awkwardness having set in. Aunt Juley, with her well-known kindheartedness, hastened to set ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... here is all right; but we may be sighted at sea, and that may bring awkwardness later on. A ship's boat with three white men in her, knocking about out of sight of land, is bound to make talk. Are we likely to ...
— Victory • Joseph Conrad

... animals of the travellers seemed to journey along it without difficulty, only the American horse showing signs of awkwardness. All the others went as if they had trodden ...
— The Lone Ranche • Captain Mayne Reid

... blushed also. That skilled diplomatist felt the awkwardness of the situation, and was prompt to ...
— Charlotte's Inheritance • M. E. Braddon

... succeeded in dragging him down to the garden. He must play ball, or in the sand, with her; but her playfellow's awkwardness and lack of enthusiasm soon impressed the little girl. Then she would become very sedate, contenting herself with walking gravely between the hedges of box, with her hand in her friend's. After a moment Risler would entirely forget that she was there; but, although he did not realize it, the warmth ...
— Fromont and Risler, Complete • Alphonse Daudet

... think that they had genuinely wanted to come. And they came extra-specially dressed—visions, lilies of the field. And as the day was quite warm, tea was served in the garden, and everybody admired the view; and there was no restraint, no awkwardness. In particular Ella talked with an ease and a distinction that enchanted Horace, and almost made him talk with ease and distinction too. He said to himself that, seeing he had only known her a month, ...
— The Grim Smile of the Five Towns • Arnold Bennett

... head, moon-white in the dusk, lay on a soldier's knapsack. An officer's short cloak, buttoned about his throat, was flung back from his body. The great hands, fingers so touching in their thick-jointed awkwardness, were folded on his bare and shaggy breast. His wounds were hidden, but tattooed upon his chest was something that Kit at first mistook for a cross. Then he saw it ...
— The Gentleman - A Romance of the Sea • Alfred Ollivant

... now for Count Hamilton to take up the ball of satire; he was not a whit more merciful than the kind Madame de Cornuel. "The Prince," said he, "has so exquisite an awkwardness that, whenever the King hears a noise, and inquires the cause, the invariable answer is that 'the Prince of Conti has just tumbled down'! But, tell me, what do you think of Madame d'Aumont? She is in the English headdress, and ...
— Devereux, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... They had become little princesses and lords and maids-in-waiting, and they moved through their pretty tinsel parts as if all their ornaments were gems and their raiment cloth of gold. There was no hesitation, no awkwardness of speech or gesture, and they rose really to sublime heights in the barn scene where the little Prince is in the hands of the mob. Never in the history of the stage has there been assembled a mob more wonderful than that. These children knew mobs! A mob to them was a daily sight, ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... has seen you often and heard you sing a great deal, has he not?" said Gwendolen, led on partly by the wish to hear anything about Deronda, and partly by the awkwardness which besets the readiest person, in carrying on a dialogue when empty of matter. "He spoke of you to me with the highest praise. He seemed to know you ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... awkwardness of taking the instrument with the left hand made her design perceived before it could be executed;—the king started back, scarce believing the testimony of his own eyes; and the woman made a second thrust, which just touched his waistcoat before he had time to prevent her;—and at that ...
— The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay Volume 1 • Madame D'Arblay

... stride, While backward, still backward, falls Tenny beside. We are nearing the turn, the first quarter is passed— 'Twixt leader and chaser the daylight is cast; The distance elongates; still Tenny sweeps on, As graceful and free-limbed and swift as a fawn, His awkwardness vanished, his muscles all strained— A noble opponent ...
— Poems Teachers Ask For, Book Two • Various

... heard of Richards as a poet,[432] I conclude that his fame is defunct, except in what may prove to be a very ambiguous kind of immortality, conferred by Lord Byron. The awkwardness of a case which time has broken down {271} is increased by the eulogist himself adding so powerful a name to the list of Cambridge poets, that his college has placed his statue in the library, more conspicuously than that of Newton in the ...
— A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II) • Augustus de Morgan

... spirit through the description of the suitors, and the choice of the two first caskets. Portia looked excessively dignified, and Nerissa's by-play was capital. Whether it was owing to Bassanio's awkwardness or her own shyness, she did not prosper quite so well when the leaden casket was chosen; Bassanio seemed more afraid of her than rejoiced, and looked much more at Nerissa than at her, whilst she moved as slowly, and spoke in as cold and measured a way, as if it had been the Prince of Morocco who ...
— Henrietta's Wish • Charlotte M. Yonge

... while Emma Cavendish, pitying, without understanding, his awkwardness, tried to make conversation by introducing the subject of ...
— Victor's Triumph - Sequel to A Beautiful Fiend • Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

... his ignorance of the figures, and his dreaded awkwardness amidst the trains, Jan was allowed to rest in peace. Mary Elmsley told him that if he would come over sometimes to their house in an evening, she and her young sisters would practise the figures with him, so that he might learn them. It was Jan's turn to laugh ...
— Verner's Pride • Mrs. Henry Wood

... constraint and awkwardness in the situation he could have wished. Mabel betrayed the agitation appropriate to her position, while Dora, evidently brought along as some sort of ...
— The Faith of Men • Jack London

... Speaking of "Cathleen ni Houlihan" in the notes to his "Collected Works" of 1908, Mr. Yeats says, "I cannot imagine this play, or any folk-play of our school, acted by players with no knowledge of the peasant, and of the awkwardness and stillness of bodies that have followed the plow, or too lacking in humility to copy these things without convention or caricature." Here, too, he refers to the "quiet movement and careful speech which has given our players some little fame" as "arising ...
— Irish Plays and Playwrights • Cornelius Weygandt

... said to himself with a laugh that had some bitterness in it, "than a nether millstone. Her mind is so wrapped up in this confounded fad of hers that there is no room in it for anything else. I might have been a cousin, instead of a man she had refused, for any embarrassment or awkwardness she felt at our sudden meeting. It clearly made no impression at all upon her. She remembers, of course, that she met me at Newquay. I don't suppose she has really forgotten that I asked her to be my wife, but it was a ...
— A Girl of the Commune • George Alfred Henty

... almost as keen as a woman's, felt in a moment the awkwardness of the situation, and became as shy as Miss Winter herself. If the floor would have suddenly opened, and let him through into the dark shop, he would have been thankful; but, as it would not, there he stood, meditating a sudden retreat from the room and a tremendous ...
— Tom Brown at Oxford • Thomas Hughes

... he was required to do "esthetic dancing," sometimes to sing, or, what was more common, to make a speech. And no matter how hard he tried, the sophomores were never pleased. If he danced, they laughed at him, guyed him unmercifully, called attention to his legs, his awkwardness, urged him to go faster, insisted that he get some "pash" into it. If he sang, and the frightened freshman usually sang off key, they interrupted him after a few notes, told him to sing something else, interrupted that, and told him "for God's sake" to dance. The speech-making, however, ...
— The Plastic Age • Percy Marks

... cold in her tone. On the contrary, Dalrymple fancied that she was almost on the point of laughing at that moment, and he blushed at his awkwardness. But she could not see ...
— Casa Braccio, Volumes 1 and 2 (of 2) • F. Marion Crawford

... observations; and—what was the question that broke the silence—the exact time or the day of the month? anyhow, it was spoken without the least awkwardness; in the most matter-of-fact way in the world; and then Jacob began to unbutton his clothes and sat naked, save for his shirt, intending, apparently, ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... I have referred to such points in my notes. It is enough here to remark that the difficulties presented to the translator by Michael Angelo and by Campanella are of different kinds. Both, indeed, pack their thoughts so closely that it is not easy to reproduce them without either awkwardness or sacrifice of matter. But while Campanella is difficult from the abruptness of his transitions and the violence of his phrases, Michael Angelo has the obscurity of a writer whose thoughts exceed his ...
— Sonnets • Michael Angelo Buonarroti & Tommaso Campanella

... was tall, slender, and well formed, with a little stoop in his gait, and manifested in his manners that self-possession which is the result of conscious worth and intellectual power, while, at the same time, he exhibited that slight and not displeasing awkwardness which one unavoidably acquires in hours devoted to silence and study. Still, Madame Roland says, in her description of his person, that he was courteous and winning; and though his manners did not possess all the easy elegance of the ...
— Madame Roland, Makers of History • John S. C. Abbott

... mittens. She folded a hand on her cheek, forcing the cheek out of drawing by her hand's pressure. There was always about her gestures a curious nakedness—indeed, about her face and hands. They were naive, perfectly likely to reveal themselves in their current awkwardness and ugliness of momentary expression which, by its very frankness, made a new law as ...
— Christmas - A Story • Zona Gale

... invitation carefully. Was it genuine? Or was it a plant? He was no handwriting expert, but he had a feeling that it was a disguised script. There is an inimitable looseness of design in the chirography of an illiterate person. He did not find here the awkwardness of the inexpert; rather the elaborate imitation of an amateur ignoramus. Yet he was not sure. He could give no definite reason for ...
— Tangled Trails - A Western Detective Story • William MacLeod Raine

... fox-hunter in the "doggedness" which Marlborough noted as his characteristic, in the burly self-confidence which declared "If I had not been Prime Minister I should have been Archbishop of Canterbury," in the stubborn courage which conquered the awkwardness of his earlier efforts to speak or met single-handed at the last the bitter attacks of a host of enemies. There was the same temper in the genial good-humour which became with him a new force in politics. No ...
— History of the English People, Volume VII (of 8) - The Revolution, 1683-1760; Modern England, 1760-1767 • John Richard Green

... skilful driver. Pretending to have lost the control of his horse, he made it turn round, and forced it back with such admirable awkwardness, that the carriage came close up to the wall, and the right hand door was precisely in the face of the dark little hall in which Henrietta was standing. As quick as lightning M. de Brevan jumped out. Henrietta rushed forward. ...
— The Clique of Gold • Emile Gaboriau

... seemed doubtful on the morrow after he had realized the nature of his surroundings. He was set to work in a large room full of men, boys, and slatternly-dressed girls. He was both scolded and laughed at for the inevitable awkwardness of a new beginner, and soon his name and history began to be whispered about. During the noon recess a rude fellow flung the epithet of "jail-bird" at him, and, of course, it stuck like a burr. Never in all his life had he made such an effort at self-control ...
— A Knight Of The Nineteenth Century • E. P. Roe

... man. I believe, on my honor, that you are jealous of him. You are afraid, perhaps, that I may put him in my will in place of the little shepherd of Ukraine? Think of it as you please, my dear doctor; it is certain that if I had had the awkwardness to kill this admirable companion of my studies, I should lament him now in tears of blood, for I know not why, but he is dear to me in spite of all. But who loves well, chastises well, and I cannot help pitying ...
— Stories of Modern French Novels • Julian Hawthorne

... her dress from under Tom's feet; indeed, she looked so lovely and fairy-like, that it made the awkwardness and embarrassment of her great, honest-hearted companion ...
— A Noble Woman • Ann S. Stephens

... may fail, and Hood's was balked by the awkwardness of a lieutenant of the watch, who hove-to (stopped) a frigate at night ahead of the fleet, and was consequently run down by a ship-of-the-line. The latter also received such injury as delayed the movement, several hours being lost in repairing damages. ...
— The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 • A. T. Mahan

... in Ken's ears like peals of bells. In spite of his awkwardness Coach Arthurs had made him a varsity man; in spite of his unpreparedness old Crab had given him a passing mark; in spite of his unworthiness President Halstead had made ...
— The Young Pitcher • Zane Grey

... is quite a study to see their wearers put in an appearance. Directly after entrance reverential genuflections and holy-water dipping are indulged in. Some of the congregation do the business gracefully; others get through it like the very grandfather of awkwardness. The Irish, who often come first and sit last, are solemnly whimsical in their movements. The women dip fast and curtsy briskly; the men turn their hands in and out as if prehensile mysticism was a saving thing, ...
— Our Churches and Chapels • Atticus

... would laugh at them when they heard of it! It looked for a time as if they would severely punish him, not for his awkwardness in handling his knife, but because he did not control his feelings and treat the wound and the pain with ...
— On the Indian Trail - Stories of Missionary Work among Cree and Salteaux Indians • Egerton Ryerson Young

... said he, glancing at the hands and face that were a little cleaner than usual, and at the pretence of a toilet that made the awkwardness of the fellow unusually apparent. "You seem taking a holiday. Are ...
— The Diamond Coterie • Lawrence L. Lynch

... strands of Jeremiah's experience and doctrine and hopes, shaken free from the political debris of the times, into one fair web under a pattern familiar and dear to the people. The weaving, it is true, is none of the deftest, but whether this is due to the aged Jeremiah's failing fingers or to the awkwardness of a disciple, the stuff and its dyes ...
— Jeremiah • George Adam Smith

... in life's early summer, which puts forth the fragrant bud and blossom of sin e'er its bitter fruits ripen and turn to ashes on the lips of age. It is the happy transition period, when long legs, and loose joints, and verdant awkwardness, first stumble on the vestibule of manhood. Did you never observe him shaving and scraping his pimpled face till it resembled a featherless goose, reaping nothing but lather, and dirt, and a little intangible fuzz? That is the first symptom of ...
— Gov. Bob. Taylor's Tales • Robert L. Taylor

... has been acquired through laborious years—there it is, like a special sense superadded to the ordinary endowments of nature, giving presence of mind and self-possession, arming the whole being against surprise or awkwardness or indiscretion, and controlling what has so long appeared to exercise control over ...
— The Education of Catholic Girls • Janet Erskine Stuart

... understood the temper of his fellow citizens. A man who rises by his own exertions from a low position to "a place he ain't used to" is not only an object of curiosity, but he elicits enthusiastic admiration. Any awkwardness which he exhibits in the position which he has achieved is overlooked. We are anxious to know ...
— Humanly Speaking • Samuel McChord Crothers

... eye of Lucy Munro, which had in it so much of warning, mingled at the same time with an expression of so much interest, that he half stopped in his progress, and, but for the seeming indecision and awkwardness of such a proceeding, would have returned—the more particularly, indeed, when, encountering her gaze with a corresponding fixedness—though her cheek grew to crimson with the blush that overspread it—her glance was not yet withdrawn. He felt that her look ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... openings, and sent the whole concern helter-skelter into the gutter. Polly laughed as she ran to view the ruin, for Tom lay flat on his back with the velocipede atop him, while the big dog barked wildly, and his master scolded him for his awkwardness. But when she saw Tom's face, Polly was frightened, for the color had all gone out of it, his eyes looked strange and dizzy, and drops of blood began to trickle from a great cut on his forehead. The man saw it, too, and had ...
— An Old-fashioned Girl • Louisa May Alcott

... saw a well-dressed boy of about my own age coming out of a shrubbery into the walk. I stopped, feeling a certain awkwardness, and stood before him, looking sheepish enough, no doubt. He eyed me for a moment; then burst ...
— Humphrey Bold - A Story of the Times of Benbow • Herbert Strang

... excuse my awkwardness, which arises not from ignorance of the usages of polite society, but from a little surprise and nervousness, consequent on this somewhat unexpected visit. And I beseech you to reveal my indiscretion to no one, and especially not ...
— Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Illustrated) • Edwin A. Abbott

... comely with all the grace of youth and health, not yet tanned too brown by the searing prairie winds, and showing still the faint purity of the complexion of the South. There was no slouch in her erect and self-respecting carriage, no shiftiness in her eye, no awkwardness in her speech. To Sam it was instantaneously evident that here was a new species of being, one of which he had but the vaguest notions through any experiences of his own. His chief impression was that he was at once grown small, dusty, and much unshaven. ...
— The Girl at the Halfway House • Emerson Hough

... occasion Lord Robert is an impressive or at least a striking and unusual figure; he is tall, lank, and ungainly, almost Lincolnesque in the carelessness of his apparel and the exceeding awkwardness of his postures and manners. His angular features, sharp nose, pale face, and dark hair suggest the strain of ascetism, almost of fanaticism, which runs in the present generation of his family. And the deep sincerity and power of his words on this occasion made ...
— The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, Volume II • Burton J. Hendrick

... vigorous anathema. Accurate in fact, naturally easy in delivery, bitter in irony, and ingenuous in argument, few are ready to meet him on the floor of the Commons. He is a fair specimen of what we hear called 'the fine old English gentleman,' without the ignorance, the bigotry, the awkwardness, and the peevishness, which go to make up the characters of a large proportion of the country baronets and gentry; that is, he is hearty, cordial, and merry, entering with enthusiasm into whatever he proposes ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. I, No. V, May, 1862 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... out only when the animal is induced to leave the house. The only difference between this genus and Tintinnus is the covering of foreign bodies—usually sand crystals. Movement is rapid and restless, and peculiarly vibratory, owing to the apparent awkwardness in moving the house. ...
— Marine Protozoa from Woods Hole - Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission 21:415-468, 1901 • Gary N. Galkins

... The hesitancy and awkwardness which usually followed the first moments of their charming isolation were this morning ...
— The Crusade of the Excelsior • Bret Harte

... said the young assistant, colouring, for he had heard Valmai's story, and never having seen her, was now rather bewildered by her beauty, and the awkwardness of the situation. ...
— By Berwen Banks • Allen Raine

... went straight ahead I kept fairly right, but when it came to turning I saw that I must make preparations to arrest my course. Accordingly, to avoid any appearance of awkwardness, I stopped short, with the intention of imitating the "wheel about" which I had seen the ...
— Childhood • Leo Tolstoy

... Mr Amedroz did, with much awkwardness, call his guest by his Christian name. Clara caught her cousin's eye and smiled, and he also smiled. At that moment he was more in love than ever. Could anything be more charming than this? Immediately after breakfast he was going over to Redicote, to see ...
— The Belton Estate • Anthony Trollope

... that?" asked the captain, with an awkwardness and hesitation strongly at variance with his ...
— No Name • Wilkie Collins

... overspread his face as he entered the room, resulting from a sensation of grief at his fallen fortune, and shame at his altered appearance, which though he endeavoured to cover under an air of gaiety and unconcern, gave an awkwardness to his manners, and a visible distress to his countenance: Mr Monckton received him with pleasure, and Cecilia, who saw the conflict of his philosophy with his pride, dressed her features once more in smiles, which however faint and heartless, shewed her desire to reassure him. Miss Bennet, ...
— Cecilia vol. 3 - Memoirs of an Heiress • Frances (Fanny) Burney (Madame d'Arblay)

... pipe organ which filled the space behind the staircase, and played a little, but she had never been very proficient, and her own awkwardness annoyed her. In the dining room she could hear the men talking, Howard quietly, his father in short staccato barks. She left the organ and wandered into her mother's morning room, behind the drawing room, where Grace sat with the coffee tray ...
— A Poor Wise Man • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... pall of dust that hung in the lifeless air. Men were driving horses to and fro. They were men with weak, deeply lined faces and shambling gaits. They broke into querulous curses and beat their animals savagely on ridiculously small pretexts. They handled their reins with a uniformly betraying awkwardness. ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 1, May 1908 • Various

... could not for a moment bring himself to believe that there could have ever been any need for Helena to have recourse to the knife. He could not see Lord Loudwater resisting her when she became really angry; he must have given way. None the less, he did not underestimate the awkwardness, the danger even, of her having paid that visit and had that quarrel at ...
— The Loudwater Mystery • Edgar Jepson

... beside herself with rage and terror. She laid hold of Louie, who stood in sullen awkwardness and dismay, and pushed her to the door so suddenly and so violently that the stronger, taller girl yielded without an attempt at resistance. Then holding the door open, she beckoned imperiously to David, while the tears streamed down ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... Whatever momentary awkwardness may have attended the substitution of Sir Robert Peel as Prime Minister, it did not at all interfere—thanks to the candid, liberal nature of all concerned—with the friendly goodwill which it is so desirable should ...
— Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen V.1. • Sarah Tytler

... awkwardness at first, in acting as an officer. I was young, and commanded men old enough to be my father—regular sea-dogs, who were as critical in all that related to the niceties of the calling, as the journalist who is unable to appreciate ...
— Afloat And Ashore • James Fenimore Cooper

... for her ever to be classed as a poorhouse Tory; and despite the fact that she was a leader in the old-school, as opposed to the brass-band, set, many people considered her a very agreeable woman. She had amusing things to say, and she said them in the Heth drawing-room with no air of awkwardness. Carlisle, somewhat against her will, was soon thinking her extremely attractive. But the thawing out ...
— V. V.'s Eyes • Henry Sydnor Harrison

... pounds, all depending upon the degree of the existing lameness, whether it is simply a slight tenderness or soreness, or whether the trouble has reached a stage which compels the patient to the awkwardness of traveling on ...
— Special Report on Diseases of the Horse • United States Department of Agriculture

... considering himself when he speaks so finely, perhaps not without some self-appreciation; and that the second, in the repetitions and the sentences which are never finished, is concerning himself solely with him. The pupil feels that not want of facility or awkwardness, but the earnest eagerness of the teacher, is the principal thing, and that this latter uses rhetoric only ...
— Pedagogics as a System • Karl Rosenkranz

... of the time prescribed one absolute mode of receiving such a favour, which Quentin followed accordingly by tying the napkin around his arm, yet his manner of acknowledgment had more of awkwardness, and loss of gallantry in it, than perhaps it might have had at another time, and in another presence, for though the wearing of a lady's favour, given in such a manner, was merely matter of general compliment, ...
— Quentin Durward • Sir Walter Scott

... Lady Trant kindly offered to take all trouble of this sort off his hands—undertook to speak to Mrs. Falconer, if she had his authority for so doing, and engaged that he should be married without any kind of awkwardness or difficulty. In consequence of this assurance, Lady Trant was empowered by Mr. Clay to make the proposal, which was received with so much joy and triumph by Mrs. Falconer and by ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. VII - Patronage • Maria Edgeworth

... to the bedside and took the thin white hand outstretched to him on which a wedding ring hung loose. He walked without awkwardness; there was ...
— Greatheart • Ethel M. Dell

... had its virtue, combined with movements which confirmed the sense and worked with irresistible effect: one false note, a single discord between the succession of gestures and the utterance of the sacramental words, any hesitation, any awkwardness in the accomplishment of a rite, and ...
— History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 1 (of 12) • G. Maspero

... at the Prince, who stood amazed at the suddenness and decision with which he had brought the conversation to a close; and it was not till his tall figure had disappeared that the young man began to realize the doubtful awkwardness of the attitude he had assumed towards one who, both as parent and king, had the most urgent claim in the world upon his respect and obedience. Impatient and angry with himself, he crossed the loggia and went out into the garden beyond. A young moon, slender as a bent willow wand, gleamed in the ...
— Temporal Power • Marie Corelli

... skates, and the ladies put on their short petticoats with black velvet drawers to guard against certain accidents. We reached the river, and as I was a perfect neophyte in this sport the figure I cut may be imagined. However, I resolutely determined to conquer my awkwardness, and twenty times, to the peril of my spine, did I fall down upon the ice. I should have been wiser to have left off, but I was ashamed to do so, and I did not stop till, to my huge delight, we were summoned in to dinner. But I paid dear for my obstinacy, for when I tried to rise from the table ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... have been written with the object of initiating children into the mysteries of sex. No one but a parent is likely to be on sufficiently intimate terms with the child to enable the subject to be approached without restraint or awkwardness, and no book can adapt itself to the varying needs of individual children. An exposition in cold print, or a single formal lecture on the subject, is apt to do more harm than good. I have seen instructions to parents to deliver themselves of set speeches, ...
— The Nervous Child • Hector Charles Cameron

... both. They would have shaken hands if either had offered the initiative. A sullen consciousness of gratuitous rectitude in the selfish mind of the father; an equally sullen conviction of twenty years of wrong in the son, withheld them both. Unpleasantly observant of each other's awkwardness, they parted ...
— Maruja • Bret Harte

... it was something urgent, but perhaps he would come to break off their friendship; since the awkwardness of Lady Cannon's visit, he must have been thinking that things couldn't go on like this. Then she began to recapitulate details, arguing to herself with all the cold, ...
— Love's Shadow • Ada Leverson

... to outdo her as well in magnificence as contrivance; but he found he was altogether beaten in both, and was so well convinced of it, that he was himself the first to jest and mock at his poverty of wit, and his rustic awkwardness. She, perceiving that his raillery was broad and gross, and savored more of the soldier than the courtier, rejoined in the same taste, and fell into it at once, without any sort of reluctance or reserve. For her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough



Words linked to "Awkwardness" :   disadvantage, bearing, gaucherie, unskillfulness, awkward, ungracefulness, inconvenience, worriment, woodenness, rusticity, inelegance, gawkiness, gracefulness, rustiness, troublesomeness, ungainliness, carriage, posture



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