Definition of clumsy in English:

clumsy

adjective

  • 1Awkward in movement or in handling things.

    ‘the cold made his fingers clumsy’
    • ‘Hand movements may become clumsy and the person may find it difficult to even to fasten buttons.’
    • ‘Fumbling, my fingers clumsy and slow, I fought with the buttons on his soaking-wet shirt.’
    • ‘He is an awkward, clumsy boy in the community.’
    • ‘But left-handers are renowned for being awkward and clumsy and in some societies they are still looked upon with suspicion.’
    • ‘Their movements are clumsy, but they can open doors and remove objects from closets and drawers.’
    • ‘I was never a good thief; I was clumsy, awkward, and too loud when I tried to take things.’
    • ‘As it rocks from side to side, a walking penguin may look clumsy, but its movements are actually quite efficient.’
    • ‘I was astonished, when reading his memoirs, to learn that such a polished and poised fellow had never lost the sense that he was awkward and clumsy.’
    • ‘The bear was big and frightening, but his clumsy movements made people laugh.’
    • ‘He would smile mysteriously at her, or look at her with a new kind of interest that made her feel awkward and clumsy around him.’
    • ‘On the other hand, I always was a clumsy, accident-prone little boy.’
    • ‘I'm so completely clumsy and incapable of handling a sword or a gun that I just gave up on it.’
    • ‘As the clumsy little boy approached he tripped, and fell into his waiting arms.’
    • ‘I was in a strange land, where small, clumsy, country boys were not appreciated.’
    • ‘A few minutes later I heard the clumsy movements of my mother rushing out of the room.’
    • ‘Frantically, she scrambled back through the ventilation shaft, haste making her movements clumsy and loud.’
    • ‘When the shot broke, I tried to run the bolt quickly and prepare for a follow up, as we had practiced, but my hands were suddenly awkward and clumsy.’
    • ‘Its movements are clumsy and relatively uncoordinated.’
    • ‘The child may look dazed, and his or her movements may be clumsy.’
    • ‘Last year I was daft enough to get the guy to help me with the counter top and the clumsy fellow managed to gouge a great chunk out of the kitchen wall.’
    • ‘The girls were running and giggling at the same time, making them clumsy in their movements and me even angrier.’
    awkward, uncoordinated, ungainly, graceless, ungraceful, inelegant, gawky, gauche, gangling, cloddish, blundering, lumbering
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    1. 1.1 Done awkwardly or without skill.
      ‘a very clumsy attempt to park’
      • ‘For instance, when we learn to drive a car, our initial attempts are clumsy and full of errors.’
      • ‘This was a clumsy amateurish attempt by two students.’
      • ‘His downfall came only when he made a clumsy and inept attempt to forge her will, to claim her legacy for himself.’
      • ‘The clumsy frame-up attempt was as stupid as it was shortsighted.’
      • ‘With this uncharacteristically clumsy device the author seems to be trying to relate his novel to public events, and trying too hard.’
      • ‘The characters appear out of nowhere and act as little more than clumsy devices to move the plot along and reveal the truth behind mysteries set up elsewhere.’
      • ‘This clumsy pastiche may please its creator, but the difficulty with any ‘me-film’ is that you're only guaranteed an audience of one.’
      • ‘This clumsy attempt at democracy has soured the population.’
      • ‘‘Being a hippy’ was just a clumsy attempt to give expression to those moments of spirituality he had experienced since childhood.’
      • ‘It comes off as a clumsy storytelling device and suggests a more general weakness with the criminology aspects of the film.’
      • ‘The extraordinarily clumsy and transparent attempt to bury the issue failed, however, resulting in a further inquiry and the present trials.’
      • ‘There's only so much space for awkward dialogue and clumsy exposition when you have to cram a movie full of fight scenes.’
      • ‘The performances are flat and wooden; the writing is clumsy and unlikely to keep any child interested for more than a few minutes.’
      • ‘He also uses the clumsy narrative device of the flashback in attempt to generate a sense of depth in the relationship.’
      • ‘It is an attempt, and a clumsy attempt, to codify the present criminal law.’
      • ‘A smaller boy on the other side of the path was laughing as some of my clumsy attempts to be ‘lady like’.’
      • ‘But these clumsy attempts to prevent its publication only promoted the swift growth of interest in the book.’
      • ‘These categories are clumsy and incomplete, but I'm hoping you can deduce what I mean for the sake of brevity here.’
      • ‘The shooting appears to be a clumsy attempt to provoke violence that would justify their continued presence in the country.’
      • ‘The hints too had been so heavy and so clumsy that journalists well versed in the field of arms control were beginning to guess who it could be.’
      • ‘I made this clumsy, half-hearted suicide attempt about a year ago.’
      • ‘It is difficult to believe that such clumsy moments derive from even a very early work by the great composer.’
      awkward, uncoordinated, ungainly, graceless, ungraceful, inelegant, gawky, gauche, gangling, cloddish, blundering, lumbering
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    2. 1.2 Difficult to handle or use; unwieldy.
      ‘clumsy devices’
      ‘the legal procedure is far too clumsy’
      • ‘It looked and felt so clumsy, so unwieldy, so…… artificial.’
      • ‘If the skis are too long, they will be clumsy and awkward.’
      • ‘Also, larger oars were heavy and clumsy to maneuver and required multiple oarsmen.’
      • ‘These clumsy wood snowshoes were heavy and made walking almost impossible.’
      • ‘They were difficult to conceal, clumsy, expensive to manufacture, and required bulky ammunition which created stowage and logistics problems.’
      • ‘They must have been clumsy and difficult to manoeuvre as well.’
      • ‘The outer wooden framework, which is clumsy and heavy and painted grey, protects and cages the garland.’
      • ‘The weapon and its ammunition will be too heavy and clumsy for general issue and its cost per weapon and ammunition will be huge.’
      • ‘With their clumsy wooden carts, they cleared the refuse from the streets and cleaned the open drains bordering its streets.’
      • ‘The reason seems to be that they are clumsy and difficult to manoeuvre.’
      • ‘Here's an alternative to clumsy, heavy snow chains.’
      • ‘Iron ploughs engineered to reduce soil resistance replaced clumsy wooden ones, increasing ploughing productivity.’
      • ‘No one could maintain that furious, driving rhythm - not with something as massive and clumsy as a two-handed sword!’
      • ‘Place my first mobile phone next to my present one, and you see light years of difference: the old one is bulky and clumsy.’
      unwieldy, unmanageable, cumbersome, bulky, hulking, heavy, solid, awkward, unmanoeuvrable
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    3. 1.3 Lacking social skills; tactless.
      ‘his choice of words was clumsy’
      • ‘In the end, the organization looks clumsy and amateurish.’
      • ‘I was far too clumsy in social situations to attempt a visit, not even to apologize for something that had been plaguing me with guilt all day.’
      • ‘Alex, with his clumsy manners, his awkward yet almost sweet behavior… and his captivating personality.’
      • ‘I mean, it was clumsy the way they handled it.’
      • ‘In a complex of lonely and socially clumsy bachelors, disheartened by too many rejections, she was news.’
      • ‘His retaliations are clumsy and awkward in comparison.’
      • ‘I am pretty clumsy and awkward but I try real hard never to trespass in a way that would be offensive to a place.’
      • ‘The film documents the clumsy and difficult courtship.’
      • ‘But, at the heart of this argument, I have reached the conclusion that I'm a slightly clumsy, rather ineffectual speaker.’
      • ‘Simple self promotion is jarring, far too revealing and far too blunt, gauche, clumsy, and vulgar.’
      • ‘The words fell out of his mouth in a clumsy, awkward fashion that instantly made him regret talking at all.’
      • ‘Eventually, I made our excuses and took her home, worried that I had ruined yet another woman's life with my clumsy social skills.’
      • ‘His characters are often awkward and clumsy, expressing people's inability to communicate.’
      • ‘There were awkward speeches saying kind and clumsy things, gauche jokes and real fondness.’
      gauche, awkward, graceless, unpolished, unsubtle, crude, uncouth, boorish, crass
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Origin

Late 16th century: from obsolete clumse ‘make or be numb’, probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Swedish klumsig.

Pronunciation

clumsy

/ˈklʌmzi/