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Clumsiness   /klˈəmzinəs/   Listen
Clumsiness

noun
1.
Unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training.  Synonyms: awkwardness, ineptitude, ineptness, maladroitness, slowness.
2.
The carriage of someone whose movements and posture are ungainly or inelegant.  Synonym: awkwardness.
3.
The inelegance of someone stiff and unrelaxed (as by embarrassment).  Synonyms: awkwardness, gracelessness, stiffness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Clumsiness" Quotes from Famous Books



... believed that, for her sake, he would face all the terrors of hell. The battle came and there were no terrors of hell—only sick headache, noise, men desperately wounded, and, once again, his own clumsiness. Then, in that final picture of Marie Ivanovna and Semyonov he saw his own most ...
— The Dark Forest • Hugh Walpole

... Mangles, who had smiled at the clumsiness of some maneuver. John took the hint, but mentally resolved that he would nevertheless hold himself in readiness in case the incapacity of the crew should endanger the safety ...
— In Search of the Castaways • Jules Verne

... words and a seeming inability to get to the point. The Heptameron if not equal in narrative vigour and lightness to Boccaccio before and La Fontaine afterwards, is not in the least exposed to the charge of clumsiness of any kind, employs a simple, natural, and sufficiently picturesque vocabulary, avoids all verbiage and roundabout writing, and both in the narratives and in the connecting conversation displays a very considerable advance upon nearly all the writers of the time, except Rabelais, ...
— The Tales Of The Heptameron, Vol. I. (of V.) • Margaret, Queen Of Navarre

... seemed all thumbs as he took a cigar from the proffered box. He cursed himself because his tongue felt thick. Perhaps it was his silence, betraying something of his mental clumsiness, that brought a faint flush of color into her cheeks. He noted that; and also that the top of her shining head came just about to his chin, and that her mouth and throat, looking down on them, were bewitchingly ...
— The Flaming Forest • James Oliver Curwood

... country, who, to a man, repudiated the proceedings, and refused to attend. Our captors were extremely anxious to induce us to write letters to Dorjiling, and sent spies of all kinds to offer us facilities for secret correspondence. The simplicity and clumsiness with which these artifices were attempted would have been ludicrous under other circumstances; while the threat of murdering Campbell only alarmed us, inasmuch as it came from people too stupid to be trusted. We made out that all Sikkim people were excluded from Dorjiling, and ...
— Himalayan Journals (Complete) • J. D. Hooker

... better than your hopes. For Liberty stands nobly. Americans, always shy about their country, have learnt from the ridicule which Europeans, on mixed aesthetic and moral grounds, pour on this statue, to dismiss it with an apologetic laugh. Yet it is fine—until you get near enough to see its clumsiness. I admired the great gesture of it. A hand fell on my shoulder, and a voice said, "Look hard at that, young man! That's the first time you've seen Liberty—and it will be the last till you turn your back on this country again." It was an American ...
— Letters from America • Rupert Brooke

... than Andy, who was in the thick of the row, and in a divided ecstasy between the "blaky-moor's" turban and cymbals and the trumpeter's jokes and music; the latter articles having a certain resemblance, by-the-bye, to the former in clumsiness and noise, and therefore suited to Andy's taste. Whenever occasion offered, Andy got near the big drum, too, and gave it a thump, delighted with the result of his ...
— Handy Andy, Volume One - A Tale of Irish Life, in Two Volumes • Samuel Lover

... the Mohammedan high-caste woman drawn down to her very brows, and over the entire face the black street veil. Not a feature visible. Not an eyebrow. Not an eyelash, not a hint of the small person herself, except a very small white, ringed hand, lifted as if in defense of his clumsiness. ...
— The Fortieth Door • Mary Hastings Bradley

... the modern party political journalism so bad? It is worse even than it intends to be. It praises its preposterous party leaders through thick and thin; but it somehow succeeds in making them look greater fools than they are. This clumsiness clings even to the photographs of public men, as they are snapshotted at public meetings. A sensitive politician (if there is such a thing) would, I should think, want to murder the man who snapshots him at those moments. For our general impression ...
— Utopia of Usurers and other Essays • G. K. Chesterton

... charges at once it is touch and go with the holder, and he must plant his barbs exactly parallel either in the nape of the bull's neck or behind the shoulders—always well on top and within an inch or two of each other. A slight clumsiness is loudly hooted and whistled at by the audience, who are as keen critics of everything that transpires as our own crowds ...
— The Harmsworth Magazine, v. 1, 1898-1899, No. 2 • Various

... the assailants if there are a number, and you would be too much exposed; you would receive an arrow in you. Come, come," said the priest, lowering his gun after some moments of attentive scrutiny; "it is but an alarm; let us return and thank the Lord for the clumsiness of this cannibal, for if he had not blundered, you would not be here, my son. What astonishes me, and for which I thank God, is that you have escaped; a native so bold as to make such an attempt should have a true eye and a ...
— A Romance of the West Indies • Eugene Sue

... already at the breakfast table, and semi-audibly rating Mr. Mix for his slothfulness, when he came in with an odd knitting of his forehead and an unsteady compression of his mouth. To add to the effect, he placed his feet with studied clumsiness, and as he gave the Herald into Mirabelle's hands, he uttered a sound which ...
— Rope • Holworthy Hall

... calculated to fix a lady's eye. His figure, except for the blemish in one limb, was eminently handsome, and much above the usual stature; and the whole outline was that of extraordinary vigour, without a touch of clumsiness. ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol X • Various

... he held her in his arms without a single word, till Dr. May had unclosed his lips—a sign would not suffice—he must have a sentence to assure him; and then it was such joy to have her restored, and his fondness and solicitude were so tender and eager in their clumsiness, that his father-in-law was touched to ...
— The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations • Charlotte Yonge

... another day. It is not a difficulty.—The seeming paradox of calling a pedigree inspired, is only seeming.—The text of Holy Scripture has nothing at all to do with the question. Is a dead poet responsible for the clumsiness of him who transcribes his copy, or for the carelessness of the apprentice in the printer's attic?—Least of all do we overlook the personality of the human writers, when we so speak. The styles of Daniel,—of St. John,—of St. Paul,—of ...
— Inspiration and Interpretation - Seven Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford • John Burgon

... veiled menace in his voice which it was impossible to overlook. Savaroff scowled at me more truculently than ever. It was obvious that both of them were entirely ignorant of Sonia's part in the affair, and suspected me of some extraordinary bit of clumsiness. I prepared myself ...
— A Rogue by Compulsion • Victor Bridges

... captain ordered all hands to take their stations for getting under way, and Commodore Kendall went aft, though he still carefully observed the conduct of the seamen. The clumsiness, and the intentional blunders of certain of the crew seemed to indicate that there was a conspiracy to defeat the purposes of the commander. First, Howe tumbled down while the hands were walking round the capstan; Spencer stumbled over ...
— Down the Rhine - Young America in Germany • Oliver Optic

... bellying sails, tilted against the wind in the sunshine. A wedge of wild geese honked high on their way to southern lands. Countless sea-parrots squattered away from the schooner's path, dragging their fat, black bodies in splashing clumsiness across the water. The wind freshened and the rigging strained and creaked as the Hoonah swung to the long, wrinkled swells of the open sea. Driven ahead by the breeze she dipped and splashed sending showers of whitened water away from her prow and leaving a wake of foam-laces behind ...
— Where the Sun Swings North • Barrett Willoughby

... folds, and over it a mantle, while her long hair floated over her neck and shoulders." This warlike queen, therefore, notwithstanding her abhorrence of the Romans, could not resist the graceful elegance of their costume, so different from the rude clumsiness of the dress of her wild subjects; and, though fighting valiantly against the invaders of her country, she succumbed to the laws which Fashion had issued!—a forcible example of the unlimited sway exercised by the flower-crowned goddess over the ...
— Godey's Lady's Book, Vol. 42, January, 1851 • Various

... please, please, don't!" she said. And William King winced at his own clumsiness; her reticence made him feel as if he had been guilty of an impropriety, ...
— The Awakening of Helena Richie • Margaret Deland

... conscious, Mistress Fiddy involuntarily sighed out "mother." Very motherly was the elder woman's assurance: "Yes, my dear, I'll serve as madam your mother in her absence, till madam herself comes; and she'll laugh at our confusion and clumsiness, I warrant." ...
— Girlhood and Womanhood - The Story of some Fortunes and Misfortunes • Sarah Tytler

... the shadowy cavernous places where the demons lie in wait for one, as they do for the wayfarer (do you remember?), in Bewick, who, desiring to rest by the roadside, finds the dingle all alive with ambushed fiends, horned and heavy-limbed, swollen with the oppressive clumsiness of nightmare. But you are not inexperienced or weak. You have enough philosophy to wait until the frozen mood thaws, and the old thrill comes back. That is one of the real compensations of middle age. When one is ...
— The Upton Letters • Arthur Christopher Benson

... wondering eyes of the buck changed. A glitter came into them. It had angered him to be so hustled. And moreover, the ponderous clumsiness of the bull filled him with contempt. When the bull charged him for the third time, he stamped his narrow, sharp hoofs in defiance, and stood with antlers down. At the last moment he jumped aside no farther than was absolutely ...
— The Watchers of the Trails - A Book of Animal Life • Charles G. D. Roberts

... but it seemed to him that fine living should be but the flower of fine feeling, and that such external graces, when they adorned a dull and vapid society, were as incongruous as the royal purple on a clown. Among certain of his new friends he found a clumsiness of manner somewhat absurdly allied with an attempt at Roman austerity; but he was fair-minded enough to see that the middle-class doctor or lawyer who tries to play the Cicero is, after all, a more ...
— The Valley of Decision • Edith Wharton

... beginning to realise the infamy of it all. Not a thought ever entered their heads but that of torture, veiled or open, and the appalling clumsiness of their endeavours to conceal their Satanic designs, so that they might appear in the light of beneficent hosts, shows that they cowered at the possibility of public vengeance. Happily for them, Napoleon's ...
— The Tragedy of St. Helena • Walter Runciman

... clumsiness," he said to the lady. "I am, unfortunately, quite blind. But," he added, with a smile, to turn off the mishap, "even a blind man must have ...
— Four Max Carrados Detective Stories • Ernest Bramah

... command my attention. I could think of nothing but the little crushed figure next to me. I stole a look at her and saw that a large tear was hanging on one eyelash ready to fall. I looked hurriedly away. Poor child! And her birthday! I cursed Lawrence for his clumsiness. What did it matter if she had put her hand on his knee? He ought to have taken it and patted it. But it was more than likely, as I knew very well, that he had never even noticed her action. He was marvellously unaware of all kinds of things, and it was only too possible that Nina scarcely ...
— The Secret City • Hugh Walpole

... had jumbled my speech without wit or address, like a peasant dragging his milkmaid before the village cure. The woman may have felt my clumsiness. She dropped my hand, and curtsied deeply to the father, and he, staring, checked the hand that he had raised to extend to her, and bowed deeply in turn. It was a meeting, not of priest and refugee, but of a man ...
— Montlivet • Alice Prescott Smith

... was cleared. Morgan's cheek flushed at the first cry, and he almost lost grip of his oar. The slip was noted instantly, and a warning, "Steady at number three," recalled him to his task. Jeffreys gave him a look, and the Spaniard cursed volubly at his companion's clumsiness. ...
— Sea-Dogs All! - A Tale of Forest and Sea • Tom Bevan

... and an order to keep further back. In other circumstances the plucky spirit of Ebony would have been roused to indignation—perhaps to retaliation; but a sense of justice was strong in that negro's breast. Overwhelmed with shame at his clumsiness, and eager to rectify the error—yet not daring to speak, for silence had been strictly enjoined—he raised the spear over his shoulder and turned the point backwards, thereby bringing it down on the head of the man in ...
— The Fugitives - The Tyrant Queen of Madagascar • R.M. Ballantyne

... unintelligible Devonshire jargon, rendered somewhat more barbarous than usual by intoxication. Frequently one of them would address one of the players in language more forcible than choice, as he applauded some piece of FINESSE, or condemned some clumsiness on the part of the two youths who were struggling about in the centre, under the impression they were wrestling. There were but two moderate wrestlers in the parish, and those two were George Hawker and James Stockbridge. And James and myself had hardly arrived on the ground ...
— The Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn • Henry Kingsley

... Indian's moccasin, the uppers being made of two thicknesses of deer hide, which were kept on the foot by means of a narrow tape run through eyelets, while the soles were built up of several thicknesses of felt, amounting in all to about an inch and a half. They had an appearance of great clumsiness, but were, as a matter of fact, extremely light, springy, and comfortable. The thickness of the soles, the springiness of the felt, and the absence of heels made the boots particularly easy to march in, and the soldiers were thus able to cover great distances without feeling fatigue. ...
— A Chinese Command - A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas • Harry Collingwood

... can chip without breaking the end of an egg in a glass on the anvil, crack a nut without touching the kernel, or strike a blow of ten tons eighty times in a minute, we have a steady onward movement. Prejudice builds its solid breakwaters; ignorance, inability, clumsiness, and awkwardness raise such obstacles as they can; but the delay of a century is but a moment. Slowly and surely the waters rise till they sweep away all obstacles, overtop all barriers, and plunge forward again with ever ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 79, May, 1864 • Various

... than that of the original "sections"). Since no Teubner volumes beyond the second proved to be forthcoming, the rest of the work followed the stereotyped Tauchnitz edition, which also enjoys a large circulation. This text, however, contained so many cases of corruption and clumsiness that it seemed best to work over carefully nearly all of the latter portion of the English and to embody as many as possible of the improvements of Boissevain. Incidentally Boissevain's interior arrangement of all the later ...
— Dio's Rome, Volume 1 (of 6) • Cassius Dio

... face white, his chest heaving, before his opponent, who had at once recovered. With the blood-tinged tip of his sword resting on the ground, Andre-Louis surveyed him grimly, as we survey the prey that through our own clumsiness has escaped us at ...
— Scaramouche - A Romance of the French Revolution • Rafael Sabatini

... intended to prevent the upsetting of the canoe, which was so narrow that it could not have maintained an upright position without the outrigger. We could not help wondering both at the ingenuity and the clumsiness of ...
— The Coral Island - A Tale Of The Pacific Ocean • R. M. Ballantyne

... passed between them. He asked for her literary opinion with the same simplicity, the same outward deference as before. She was once more the elegant and languid woman, no writer herself, but born to be the friend and muse of writers. She made him feel just as clearly as before the clumsiness of a phrase, the naivete of a ...
— Eleanor • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... caved in at one side, the cut in the sou'wester through which clotted hair protruded, the whole ghastliness of death that comes by violence. With all that under his eyes, Conroy had to give his account of the affair, while the ring of silent, hard-breathing men watched him and marvelled at the clumsiness of his story. ...
— The Second Class Passenger • Perceval Gibbon

... washing their bodies. From the front windows of the house one saw across Hampstead Heath towards London, and from the back windows one saw across the Heath towards Harrow. The house, in spite of its slight decrepitude and the clumsiness of its construction—the stairs were obviously an afterthought of the architect—had that air of comfortable kindliness which is only to be seen in houses which have been occupied by several generations of human beings. Mr. Haverstock was vaguely known ...
— The Foolish Lovers • St. John G. Ervine

... change of position required the practice of exercises calculated to insure independence. The pupil was instructed to go through these exercises first staccato, effected by a free movement of the wrist, an admirable means of counteracting heaviness and clumsiness, then legato-staccato, then accented legato, then pure legato, modifying the power from pp to ff, and the movement ...
— For Every Music Lover - A Series of Practical Essays on Music • Aubertine Woodward Moore

... Etruscan towns, which circumstance has led antiquaries to allow the Etruscans the honour of having fashioned these rude specimens of pottery; but as the samples display a higher degree of skill they refuse to allow the Etruscans the merit of having improved the clumsiness of their early handiwork. In the sixth and seventh cases are pale vases with deep red figures, chiefly of animals upon them, chiefly from Canino and Vulci. The exertions of the Prince of Canino in excavating on his estate in search ...
— How to See the British Museum in Four Visits • W. Blanchard Jerrold

... visiting it on Roland now, throwing all the responsibility of her sin on his ugliness, his stupidity, his clumsiness, the heaviness of his intellect, and the vulgarity of his person. It was to this that it was owing that she had betrayed him, had driven one son to desperation, and had been forced to utter to the other the most agonizing confession that can make a mother's heart bleed. She muttered: ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII. • Guy de Maupassant

... announced Millard did give Mrs. Hilbrough his arm, and Phillida was startled and amused, when Mr. Hilbrough, after pausing an instant to remember which of his stout arms he was to offer, presented his left elbow. Despite much internal levity and external clumsiness, Hilbrough played his role to the satisfaction of his anxious wife, and Phillida looked at him inquiringly after she was seated as though to discover what transformation ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... the glen. Some one, whistling, turned an elbow of the hill and caught up with the two. It proved to be one several years their senior, a young man in the holiday dress of a prosperous farmer. He whistled clearly an old border air and walked without dragging or clumsiness. Coming up, he ceased ...
— Foes • Mary Johnston

... his unspeakable horror, a simple command to shoot the poet at once. He obeys; and the "frightfulness" is doubled by the fact that a rather clumsy device of his to spare the wife the sight of the husband's death is defeated by the still greater clumsiness of a subordinate. She goes mad; and, as expiation, he takes charge of her, shifts from navy to army, and carries her with him on all his campaigns, being actually engaged in escorting her on a little ...
— A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2 - To the Close of the 19th Century • George Saintsbury

... above the usual standard, it was cast in the very mould of a young Hercules; the head set on with singular grace, the throat and chest after the truest model of the antique, the hands delicately finished; the whole outline that of extraordinary vigor, without as yet a touch of clumsiness. When he had acquired a little facility of manner, his conversation must have been such as could have dispensed with any exterior advantages, and certainly brought swift forgiveness for the one unkindness ...
— Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume I (of 10) • John Gibson Lockhart

... Cosima, a five-act drama, was not encouraging. It was acted at the Theatre Francais in the spring of 1840, and proved a failure. It betrays no insufficient sense of dramatic effect, nor lack of the means for producing it, but decided clumsiness in the adaptation of these means to that end. The plot and personages recall those of Indiana, with the important differences that the beau role of the piece falls to the husband, and that the scene is transported back ...
— Famous Women: George Sand • Bertha Thomas

... Modern Utopia is under the hard logic of life, and it would have to exterminate such a race as quickly as it could. On the whole, the Fijian device seems the least cruel. But Utopia would do that without any clumsiness of race distinction, in exactly the same manner, and by the same machinery, as it exterminates all its own defective and inferior strains; that is to say, as we have already discussed in Chapter the Fifth, section 1, by its marriage laws, and by the laws of the minimum wage. That ...
— A Modern Utopia • H. G. Wells

... Papists. It is more probable that the calamity was caused by some such accident as that which occasioned the fire which, during John Campbell's attorney-generalship, destroyed a large amount of valuable property, and had its origin in the clumsiness of a barrister who upset upon his fire a vessel full of spirit. Of this fire Lord Campbell observes:—"When I was Attorney-General, my chambers in Paper Buildings, Temple, were burnt to the ground in the night-time, and all my books and manuscripts, with some valuable ...
— Old and New London - Volume I • Walter Thornbury

... in her own country, she had no landmarks or finger-posts, of any kind, in this new land. Her sentiment had never been narrowly British, but now she realized her nationality over-keenly; she felt herself almost grotesquely English, and had a sense of insular clumsiness amidst a uprightly, dexterous people. Conscious of a thousand illusive, but very real differences in point of view, and in nature, between the two nations, she had a baffled impression of walking ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... him. Zenaide quickly followed: a plump little girl, red and out of breath; not pretty, and square in face and figure, she looked like her father. She wore a white cap, and her short skirts, and small shawl pinned over her shoulders, increased her general clumsiness. But her heavy eyebrows and square chin indicated an unusual amount of firmness and decision, offering the strongest possible contrast to the gentle, irresolute expression of her stepmother's sweet face. Without a moment's delay, not waiting to detach ...
— Jack - 1877 • Alphonse Daudet

... benches in the sheltered nooks of the snug Chateau gardens were occupied by little groups, which usually consisted of a bonne and a baby, or of a chevalier and a hopelessly unclassable dog; for the dogs of Versailles belong to breeds that no man living could classify, the most prevalent type in clumsiness of contour and astonishing shagginess of coat resembling nothing more natural than those human travesties of the canine race familiar to us ...
— A Versailles Christmas-Tide • Mary Stuart Boyd

... exclaimed John, very much irritated, and more ashamed of his clumsiness than he cared to show. "How can a fellow have room to breathe in a bandbox like this! Come along, Philip; I'm going down to talk ...
— John and Betty's History Visit • Margaret Williamson

... and bent her head obediently so that he could get at the snarl better. Timothy worked away in silence, his knees braced in the soft ground. His fingers were never very good at this sort of thing, and right now they seemed to become clumsiness personified. They trembled so that the snarl seemed to grow worse and worse with each moment. He gritted his teeth and tried his best to control his hands and his heart, which raced and beat so loudly above the crouching girl. He was quite sure she heard it. This nearness was almost ...
— The Heart of Arethusa • Francis Barton Fox

... their devilish contraptions so that a man blew himself to pieces in the act of drawing his drink. Many of the wells were mined, but the Germans had slightly overreached themselves either through haste or clumsiness, and all the mines were removed ...
— With Our Army in Palestine • Antony Bluett

... over ter drink a dish of tea with you.'" The girl put the brush under her arm, still further spread her feet, put her hands behind some pretended coat-tails, let the brush slip from under her arms, so that it fell to the floor with a racket, stooped with an affectation of clumsiness which seemed impossible to the lithe figure, while mumbling something inarticulate in an apparent paroxysm of embarrassment,—which quickly became a genuine inability to speak ...
— Janice Meredith • Paul Leicester Ford

... more like a white man's clumsiness. The fellow has been made to resemble an Indian, but people of our own colour have had a ...
— Wyandotte • James Fenimore Cooper

... not know anything that passed upon that terrace. How should I know? Neither of them was likely to tell old Smith. And I wonder at the clumsiness of novelists in pretending to reveal all that he said, and all that she answered. But if I were such a clumsy novelist, I should like to invent it all, and see if I couldn't make you believe every word ...
— Adela Cathcart, Vol. 3 • George MacDonald

... state of things? Is this method of managing our affairs the only possible electoral method, and is there no remedy for its monstrous clumsiness and inefficiency but to "show a sense of humour," or, in other words, to grin and bear it? Or is it conceivable that there may be a better way to government than any we have yet tried, a method of government that would draw every class into conscious ...
— An Englishman Looks at the World • H. G. Wells

... and who, from his love of noble and eloquent attitudes, is determined to die standing. He ended with a final impressive gesture. However, as he came down from the tribune, the general coldness seemed to increase, not a single member applauded. With supreme clumsiness he had alluded to the secret scheming of Rome and the clergy, whose one object, in his opinion, was to recover the predominant position they had lost and restore monarchy in France at a more ...
— The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete - Lourdes, Rome and Paris • Emile Zola

... have been halfway to the lake when a man emerged from the same window of the drawing-room, ran to the terrace steps, stumbled down them so awkwardly that he nearly fell, and swore at his own clumsiness in so doing. He negotiated the next flight more carefully, but quickened his pace again into a run when he reached the open. The girl's figure was hardly visible, but he knew she was there, and the distance between ...
— The Strange Case of Mortimer Fenley • Louis Tracy

... Joe watched the landings, while the young lieutenant followed him patiently about. A pushpot landing was quite unlike the landing of any other air-borne thing. It came flying down with incredible clumsiness, making an uproar out of all proportion to its landing speed. Pushpots came in with their tail ends low, crudely and cruelly clumsy in their handling. They had no wings or fins. They had to be balanced by their jet blasts. They had to be steered the same way. When ...
— Space Platform • Murray Leinster

... code did not allow her to put herself under obligations to any man. To tell the truth, she was in such a brown study over the events of the morning that she had become practically oblivious of her surroundings. When she recovered sufficiently from her confusion at her clumsiness to take in the details of the situation, she realized that the individual in question was a young man whom she was in the habit of passing daily at this same hour. Only the day before he had rescued her veil which had been swept away by a ...
— The Law-Breakers and Other Stories • Robert Grant

... bowed solemnly, and did not fail to exhibit his clumsiness by dropping Raby's waterproof in a belated effort to raise his hat. Mrs Rimbolt would hardly have been appeased had he not done so; and it was probably in a final endeavour to show him off as he departed that ...
— A Dog with a Bad Name • Talbot Baines Reed

... his fury was directed at himself as much as at the trustworthy young man getting down from the limousine. His eagerness had led him to mistake stupidity for cleverness. He had gone about the affair with all the clumsiness of a boy who was making his first appearance at the stage entrance. It was mightily disconcerting, too, to have found an honest man when he was in desperate need of a dishonest one. He had faced with fine courage all sorts of dangerous wild animals; but at this moment he hadn't the ...
— The Place of Honeymoons • Harold MacGrath

... ever being needlessly hurt by Admiralty tactlessness. He had good reason on many occasions to take offence at their clumsiness. One of numerous grievances was Sir Sydney Smith being, to all appearances, put over him. He wrote to Lord St. Vincent, and reminded him that he was a man, and that it was impossible for him to serve in ...
— Drake, Nelson and Napoleon • Walter Runciman

... to any being who ever lived, except to a few school-girls of both sexes, it has a strong infusion of Borrow's satiric gift. As for the diatribes against gentility, Borrow has only done very clumsily what Thackeray had done long before without clumsiness. It can escape nobody who has read his books with a seeing eye that he was himself exceedingly proud, not merely of being a gentleman in the ethical sense, but of being one in the sense of station and extraction—as, by the way, ...
— Essays in English Literature, 1780-1860 • George Saintsbury

... half of the dinner he hardly spoke. I think he was worried about his left hand. There is a deep furrow across the back of it where a piece of shrapnel went through and there are two fingers that will hardly move at all. I could see that he was ashamed of its clumsiness and afraid that someone might notice it. So he kept silent. Professor Razzler did indeed ask him straight across the table what he thought about the final breaking of the Hindenburg line. But he asked it with that same fierce look from under his bushy eyebrows ...
— The Hohenzollerns in America - With the Bolsheviks in Berlin and other impossibilities • Stephen Leacock

... power, and subsidize it without a word—coachmakers, jewelers, tailors, and all. If any attempt is made to interfere with them, the servants reply with impudent retorts, or revenge themselves by the costly blunders of assumed clumsiness; and in these days they inquire into their master's character as, formerly, the master inquired into theirs. This mischief is now really at its height, and the law-courts are beginning to take cognizance of it; but in vain, for it cannot be remedied but by a law which shall compel domestic ...
— Poor Relations • Honore de Balzac

... seven said by Mr. Dorward and the Low Mass at eight said by Mr. Ogilvie. He was able to detect mistakes that were made by the village boys who served that Sunday morning, and he vowed to himself that the Monday Mass for the Emperor Napoleon should not be disfigured by such inaccuracy or clumsiness. He declined the usual invitation to stay to supper after Evening Prayer that he might have time to make perfection more perfect in the seclusion of his own room, and when he set out about six o'clock ...
— The Altar Steps • Compton MacKenzie

... of slowness and stolidity, was not perhaps a fool, notwithstanding his outward clumsiness. A little attention is appreciated even by ...
— Amaryllis at the Fair • Richard Jefferies

... forebade; moreover, George entertained a vexatious suspicion that P. Sybarite's explanation on his recent downfall had not been altogether disingenuous; he didn't quite believe it had been due solely to his own clumsiness and ...
— The Day of Days - An Extravaganza • Louis Joseph Vance

... me, in short, that a poem by Bragdon, while it might easily show the poet's fancy, could not fail to show also the produce-broker's clumsiness of touch. His charm was the spontaneity of his spoken words, his enthusiastic personality disarming all criticism; what the labored productions of his fancy might prove to be, I hardly dared think. It was this dread that ...
— The Water Ghost and Others • John Kendrick Bangs

... dissection; for a man may hide himself from you, or misrepresent himself to you every other way; but he cannot in his work: there, be sure, you have him to the inmost. All that he likes, all that he sees,—all that he can do,—his imagination, his affections, his perseverance, his impatience, his clumsiness, cleverness, everything is there. If the work is a cobweb, you know it was made by a spider; if a honey-comb, by a bee; a wormcast is thrown up by a worm, and a nest wreathed by a bird; and a house built by a man, worthily, if he is worthy, and ...
— The Queen of the Air • John Ruskin

... speaking Walter Skinner, with many groans, was trying to mount behind his old companion; but, on account of the horse shying his objections to such a proceeding, and the drunken clumsiness of Walter Skinner himself, nothing had been accomplished. Richard Wood therefore called on one of the men-at-arms to dismount and hoist him up; which he did much as if the fierce little spy had been a bag of meal, and much to Walter Skinner's discomfort, who suddenly found himself heavily ...
— A Boy's Ride • Gulielma Zollinger

... of my ineffectual attempts to be brilliant? That's a joy," he went on, "if it's not drawn out by the mere clumsiness of my flattery." She had turned away from him, kindly enough, as if time for his talk in the air were always to be allowed him: she took in vaguely Vanderbank's books and prints. "Why didn't your ...
— The Awkward Age • Henry James

... lines by Boileau, clearly shows to what degree he either ignored or misrepresented it. The singular, confused architecture of Gothic cathedrals gave those who saw beauty in symmetry of line and purity of form but further evidence of the clumsiness and perverted taste of our ancestors. All remembrances of the great poetic works of the Middle Ages is completely effaced. No one supposes in those barbarous times the existence of ages classical also ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... deserve our esteem and admiration if we could believe it was real simplicity; that is, that Adrian, without fear of consequences, had made such an avowal, moved by his natural sincerity, and that he would have persisted in acting thus, though he had understood all the drift of his clumsiness. Unhappily we have some reason to believe that he did not consider his conduct as altogether impolitic, and that in his candor he went so far as to flatter himself that he had served very usefully the interests ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... supposes by this title that the author referred his tale to the days of the Caliphate. "Commander of the Faithful" was, I have said, the style adopted by Omar in order to avoid the clumsiness of "Caliph" (successor) of the Caliph (Abu Bakr) of the Apostle ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 6 • Richard F. Burton

... experimental motors to-day is so stimulating to the imagination, there are so many stimulated persons at work upon them, that it is difficult to believe the obvious impossibility of most of them—their convulsiveness, clumsiness, and, in many cases, exasperating trail of stench will not be rapidly fined away.[6] I do not think that it is asking too much of the reader's faith in progress to assume that so far as a light powerful engine goes, comparatively noiseless, ...
— Anticipations - Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon - Human life and Thought • Herbert George Wells

... the word is to be found in Burns' Poems in the sense of a rustic bit or bridle. The term is still in use in the west of Scotland; and country horses, within the memory of many, were tormented with the clumsy contrivance across their noses. With all its clumsiness it was very powerful, as it pressed on the nostrils of the animal: its action was somewhat like that ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 232, April 8, 1854 • Various

... the room for a minute or two, and then flung myself heavily upon the bed, fully dressed; and as I did so I heard Pacheco go tiptoeing clumsily back to the table, stumbling against a chair on the way, and muttering imprecations at his own clumsiness as he went. A further gurgling of liquor being poured into a glass followed, then a deep sigh of satisfaction as the glass was emptied, the bang of it as it was noisily replaced on the table, and finally the man's staggering footsteps along the floor as he made ...
— A Middy of the King - A Romance of the Old British Navy • Harry Collingwood

... instant. He is not bound to one setting, he has no technical difficulty in altering the whole scene with every smile and every frown. To be sure, the theater can give us changing sunshine and thunderclouds too. But it must go on at the slow pace and with the clumsiness with which the events in nature pass. The photoplay can flit from one to the other. Not more than one sixteenth of a second is needed to carry us from one corner of the globe to the other, from a jubilant setting to a mourning ...
— The Photoplay - A Psychological Study • Hugo Muensterberg

... this time slowly, heavily, with the blind clambering motions of an amphibious beast, clumsy. Again the moon shone with faint luminosity on his white wet figure, on the stooping back and the rounded loins. But it looked defeated now, his body, it clambered and fell with slow clumsiness. He was breathing hoarsely too, like an animal that is suffering. He sat slack and motionless in the boat, his head blunt and blind like a seal's, his whole appearance inhuman, unknowing. Gudrun shuddered as she mechanically followed his boat. ...
— Women in Love • D. H. Lawrence

... Gorju declaimed against the clumsiness of all "these country fellows," then, on his knees in front of the article of furniture, he tried to put the piece in its place. Pecuchet, while offering to assist him, traced beneath the dust faces ...
— Bouvard and Pecuchet - A Tragi-comic Novel of Bourgeois Life • Gustave Flaubert

... boy who entered was a picture of sturdy English vigour, stout-limbed, rosy-faced, clear eyed, open, and straight-forward looking, perhaps a little clumsy with the clumsiness of sixteen, especially when conscience required tearing spirits to be subdued to the endurance of the feeble. It was, however, a bright congratulating look that met him from the trio. The little girl started up, 'Your ...
— The Pillars of the House, V1 • Charlotte M. Yonge

... expertly, swinging from car to car with apelike clumsiness—and surety. Two cars back. It was not so easy to reach the sliding side door of that empty car. Considering the fact that it was night, that the train was bucking furiously over the old roadbed, Lefty had a not altogether simple task before him. But he managed ...
— Gunman's Reckoning • Max Brand

... selects what he needs, and John pays for it, wondering what sort of clumsiness he will display in the ...
— Miss Caprice • St. George Rathborne

... he knew Mr. Lasher he was undoubtedly unfortunate. He was shortsighted, but no one had, as yet, discovered this, and he was, therefore, blamed for much clumsiness that he could not prevent and for a good deal of sensitiveness that came quite simply from his eagerness to do what he was told and his inability to see his way to do it. He was not, at this time, easy with strangers and seemed to them both conceited and awkward. ...
— The Golden Scarecrow • Hugh Walpole

... Petulengro, who directed him to Mumber Lane (Mumper's Dingle), near Willenhall, in Staffordshire, "the little dingle by the side of the great north road." Here Borrow encamped and shod little Ambrol, who kicked him over as a reminder of his clumsiness. ...
— The Life of George Borrow • Herbert Jenkins

... operation of his business, and shall not necessarily lose his position on having attained such knowledge. But there are so many more important things to be thought of, in the qualifications of a foreign resident, that his technical dexterity or clumsiness is hardly ...
— Our Old Home - A Series of English Sketches • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... man answered, easily. "To tell you the truth, the clumsiness of the whole thing grated very much upon me. Personally, I ran no risk, don't think it was that. My escape was very carefully provided for. But one thinks quickly in moments of excitement, and it seemed to me as I took those last few steps that ...
— A Lost Leader • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... have become a military and political necessity, growing out of the progress of neighboring powers—while many of their fabrics are still made by hand, and their mints, presses, and fire-engines are of almost primeval clumsiness, the Russians eagerly grasp at all novelties, and are wonderfully quick in the comprehension of their uses and advantages. A similar comparison might be made in reference to the freedom of internal trade, and the encouragement given to every industrial pursuit among the people, being the exact ...
— The Land of Thor • J. Ross Browne

... Wainsby likewise attempt a rallying-cry; but Stephen's retort, "Ain't foxes flesh and blood?" convicted him of clumsiness, and, buoyed on the uproar of cheers, Stephen pursued, "They are; to kill 'em in cold blood's beast-murder, so it is. What do we do? We give 'em a fair field—a fair field and no favour! We let 'em trust to ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... them, and place them in a winnowing-fan. They wave this round the bride's head and then throw the balls and after them the fan over the litter in which the bride is seated. The bridegroom's party must catch the fan, and if they let it fall to the ground they are much laughed at for their clumsiness. When the pair arrive at the bridegroom's house, the fan is again waved over their heads; and a cloth is spread before the house, on which seven burning wicks are placed like the previous ones. The bride walks quickly ...
— The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India - Volume IV of IV - Kumhar-Yemkala • R.V. Russell

... beautiful place my Uncle calls "the Flower Blooming" tea-house. It was more like a fairy palace. How the girls, who live there, laughed at my guitar. They had never seen one before. How they whispered over the color of my eyes. Said they matched my kimono, and they tittered over my clumsiness in sitting on the floor. But I forgot everything when the door slid open and I looked into the most wonderful dream-garden that ever was, and people everywhere. I finished singing, there was clapping and loud banzais. I looked up and realized there were only men at this ...
— The Lady and Sada San - A Sequel to The Lady of the Decoration • Frances Little

... Hands and feet, exquisitely shaped, are expressive of high breeding. His expensive, handsome clothes are disordered and dusty, and bulging with books. When he speaks, it is in a strident peacock voice, and there is an abrupt clumsiness in his gestures, especially in drawing-rooms, where he is ill at ease, liable to trip in the carpet and upset furniture. Complete absence of self-consciousness, perfect disinterestedness, are evident in every tone; it is clear that he is an aristocrat, ...
— Shelley • Sydney Waterlow

... life might exhibit them, acted as a sure passport to Miss Verity's gentle heart. And the youth and good looks of the man approaching her became momentarily more incontestable. His bearing, too, notwithstanding the clumsiness of his shiny black over-garment, had a slightly ruffling, gallantly insolent air to it, eminently calculated to impress her swift and ...
— Deadham Hard • Lucas Malet

... 'unless he were a soldier. We tolerate from a man who has almost necessarily been deprived of a careful education much clumsiness and awkwardness of elocution. Soult did not speak much better than the Duke of Wellington, but he was listened to. He had, like the Duke, an air of command ...
— Correspondence & Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834 to 1859, Vol. 2 • Alexis de Tocqueville

... swaying international sentiment, and influencing international action, one of the most abiding and decisive is that of royal courts. Yet its value was not merely underrated by Britain, France and Russia, but was completely ignored. And Germany, whose diplomacy, in spite of its clumsiness and brutality, was far-sighted and assiduous in watching for and utilizing every opportunity of smoothing the way for the execution of the grandiose plan, purveyed almost every court and throne in Europe ...
— England and Germany • Emile Joseph Dillon

... one of trial to every one, admirably borne. Shopland remained in his chair, with only a casual glance at the newcomer. Francis rose to his feet with a half-stifled expression of anger at the clumsiness of his clerk. Sir Timothy, well-shaven and groomed, attired in a perfectly-fitting suit of grey flannel, nodded to Francis in friendly fashion and laid his Homburg hat upon the table with ...
— The Evil Shepherd • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... and relations all tried to dissuade him. "Be wise," said they, "and remain where you are safe, seeing that no business summons you from the lake. Few of our kindred have had dealings with the human race without suffering from their curiosity or clumsiness; and, do them what good you may, in the long run you will reap nothing but ingratitude. From how many waters have they not already banished us? Wherefore let well alone, ...
— Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales • Juliana Horatia Gatty Ewing

... the Charles Dickens who penned "David Copperfield." By dint of doing blacksmith's work, says the French proverb, one becomes a blacksmith. The artist, like the handicraftsman, must learn his art. Much in the "Sketches" betrays inexperience; or, perhaps, it would be more just to say, comparative clumsiness of hand. The descriptions, graphic as they undoubtedly are, lack for the most part the final imaginative touch; the kind of inbreathing of life which afterwards gave such individual charm to Dickens' word-painting. The ...
— Life of Charles Dickens • Frank Marzials

... printed original which suggested it—frankly a "popular" song, clumsily harmonized in a "four-square" manner (though written in 3/4 time) with nothing to indicate its latent possibilities. I compared it with his mss. and, lo, it had been transformed! Gone was the clumsiness, the vulgar and obvious harmonic treatment of the melody—Kreisler had kept the melodic outline, but etherealized, spiritualized it, given it new rhythmic contours, a deeper and more expressive meaning. And his rich and subtle ...
— Violin Mastery - Talks with Master Violinists and Teachers • Frederick H. Martens

... furnace, the tools, which produced this echantillon, were heated. I have no hesitation in saying, that, considered as an extraordinary specimen of art, it is a failure. The ornaments are common place; the lining is decidedly bad; and there is a clumsiness of finish throughout the whole. The head-bands—as indeed are those of Bozerian—are clumsily managed: and I may say that it exhibits a manifest inferiority even to the productions of Mackinlay, Hering, Clarke, and Fairbairn. Indeed ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... quickly stopped our forward movement, and we began to drift backward over the spot where the skiff had been. Big Alec's black head and swarthy face popped up within arm's reach; and all unsuspecting and very angry with what he took to be the clumsiness of amateur sailors, he was hauled aboard. Also he was out of breath, for he had dived deep and stayed down long to escape ...
— Tales of the Fish Patrol • Jack London

... was intended as an apology, or at least as an explanation of sorts. It was rather appealing in its boyish clumsiness, but she felt too numb, too utterly weary, to respond ...
— The Moon out of Reach • Margaret Pedler

... ascertained and fitted into a systematic statement. One other remark suggests itself. The Utilitarians saw in the dogged obstructiveness of Eldon and his like the one great obstacle to reform. It did not occur to them that the clumsiness of parliamentary legislation might be another difficulty. They failed to notice distinctly one tendency of their reforms. To make a code you require a sovereign strong enough to dominate the lawyers, not a system in which lawyers are an essential ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3) - James Mill • Leslie Stephen

... last, though slowly, and not by the most brilliant road, out of the bondage of the humdrum and common, into the better life. The universal dead-level of plainness and homeliness, the lack of all beauty and distinction in form and feature, the slowness and clumsiness of the language, the eternal beer, sausages, and bad tobacco, the blank commonness everywhere, pressing at last like a weight on the spirits of the traveller in Northern Germany, and making him impatient to be gone, this is the weak side; the industry, the well-doing, the patient ...
— Celtic Literature • Matthew Arnold

... excuses," was the brusque reply. "She has been a long-enduring and faithful woman, suffering from a cruel illness, brought on, to take the kindest view if it, through your clumsiness and lack of discretion. Like all good women, forgiveness is second nature to her. It has now become her wish to take her ...
— The Great Impersonation • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... "my own weapon, an air-gun which I can fire sixteen times without reloading, and which will kill at a hundred yards' distance. With a weapon unknown to me I might not only fail altogether, but I might not improbably do serious injury, by my clumsiness and ...
— Across the Zodiac • Percy Greg

... that they make the limbs of their dreaded enemies ponderous and clumsy like logs. This example illustrates the extremely materialistic view which these savages take of the nature of words; they suppose that the mere utterance of an expression signifying clumsiness will homoeopathically affect with clumsiness the limbs of their distant foemen. Another illustration of this curious misconception is furnished by a Caffre superstition that the character of a young thief can be reformed ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... instead to the vulgar respectability of Kennington! Leonard Upjohn described Kennington with that restrained humour which a strict adherence to the vocabulary of Sir Thomas Browne necessitated. With delicate sarcasm he narrated the last weeks, the patience with which Cronshaw bore the well-meaning clumsiness of the young student who had appointed himself his nurse, and the pitifulness of that divine vagabond in those hopelessly middle-class surroundings. Beauty from ashes, he quoted from Isaiah. It was a triumph of irony for that outcast poet to die amid the trappings of vulgar respectability; ...
— Of Human Bondage • W. Somerset Maugham

... sufficiently well known to render a description unnecessary here. In common with most spectators of this very ingeniously and philosophically designed appliance, Mr. Grimston was struck with its bulk and the superficial clumsiness of the arrangement whereby the air and gas supply are heated in it by the products of combustion. These lamps have, of course, materially improved of late; but when Mr. Grimston first saw them, perhaps ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 362, December 9, 1882 • Various

... nothing should get out of order. Hair and moustache were his own, dyed and brushed cunningly. Yet, when he reeled against Green near the Albany, the inspector, who was an observant man, pushed him roughly aside with an anathema on his clumsiness. ...
— The Grell Mystery • Frank Froest

... would wander Back to the calm divine of homely toil; While round him still and ever hung an air Of breezy fields, and plough, and cart, and scythe— A kind of clumsy grace, in which gay girls Saw but the clumsiness—another sort Saw the grace too, yea, sometimes, when he spoke, Saw the grace only; and began at last, For he sought none, to seek him in the crowd, And find him unexpected, maiden-wise. But oftener far they sought him than ...
— The Poetical Works of George MacDonald in Two Volumes, Volume I • George MacDonald

... the disadvantages connected with thus collecting together a number of separate papers, instead of writing a uniform treatise upon one continuous subject. The picture formed by their union must necessarily have much of the artificiality and clumsiness of the mosaic as compared with the oil or water-colour painting. But only in this form could I have brought together such a great variety of important things. And though I cannot hope that the inherent defect of the mosaic will be compensated by ...
— Roman Mosaics - Or, Studies in Rome and Its Neighbourhood • Hugh Macmillan

... outlook is different in winter than in summer. In the former season he goes back and forth to work in the dark, or at best, in the cold twilight. He is not only more depressed but he is clumsier in his heavier clothing. If the enervating influence of these factors is combined with a greater clumsiness due to cold and perhaps to colds, it is not difficult to account for this type of seasonal distribution of accidents. A study of the accidents of 1917 indicated that 13 per cent. occurred between 5 and 6 P. M. when artificial lighting is generally in use to ...
— Artificial Light - Its Influence upon Civilization • M. Luckiesh

... days was not the delicate, beautiful thing that it is to-day: it was comparatively crude, and clumsy band of metal, in which were imbedded the vital units and the tiny atomic energy generator, and was worn upon the head like a crown. But for all its clumsiness, it conveyed and received thought, and, after all, that was all we demanded ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science September 1930 • Various

... the degradations I have known, I respect still,—talent, ambition, intellect, and will. Do you think I would exchange these in a son of mine for the mere graces which a dancing-master can sell him? Fear not. Let us give but wealth to that intellect, and the world will see no clumsiness in the movements that march to its high places, and hear no discord in the laugh that triumphs over fools. But you have some news to communicate, ...
— Lucretia, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... returned with several strips of fabric cut from the tent curtain, and the neatest splints he could extemporize from slabs of stripped-off bark; and the next half-hour was a trying one to both of them. Sometimes Vane assisted him with suggestions—once he reviled his clumsiness—and sometimes he lay silent with his face awry and his lips tight silent; but at length it was done and ...
— Vane of the Timberlands • Harold Bindloss

... convictions were the souls of actions to be born of them, his daring of belief in her strengthened until he began to think that perhaps it would be neither his early history nor his defective education nor his clumsiness that would prevent her from listening to such words wherewith he burned to throw open the gates of his world and pray her to enter and sit upon its loftiest throne—its loftiest throne but one. And with the thought he felt as if he must run to her, calling aloud that he was the marquis of ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 20, August 1877 • Various



Words linked to "Clumsiness" :   bearing, ungracefulness, inelegance, clumsy, gaucherie, gracelessness, gracefulness, rustiness, woodenness, gawkiness, ungainliness, carriage, unskillfulness, rusticity, posture



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