Definition of inelegant in English:



  • 1Having or showing a lack of physical grace, elegance, or refinement.

    ‘he came skidding to an inelegant halt’
    ‘an inelegant bellow of laughter’
    • ‘The penultimate movement (in which the four soloists sing with both choirs) just sort of unravelled at the end and slumped to a very inelegant mess.’
    • ‘Second only to the inelegant word ‘Kafkaesque’, the term ‘Orwellian’ is the next most over-used adjective in the English language.’
    • ‘An inelegant or nonstandard repair that nevertheless works.’
    • ‘It was dark and slightly inelegant, and I thought it was so cool.’
    • ‘It may have looked somewhat inelegant, but it worked so well for 45 years that it attracted international attention.’
    • ‘The young gentleman listens manfully to my abortive attempts to demonstrate my interest with a light smile, while I slowly turn an inelegant purple.’
    • ‘Every so often there is a frenzy of activity, involving the chorus charging off stage or a supremely inelegant dance.’
    • ‘The use of inelegant and possibly inappropriate kanji floored me, and to top it all off, I was sitting in front of speakers blasting Indian fusion music.’
    • ‘Drink choices include a house red and white wine (served in an inelegant tumbler), teas, coffees and juices.’
    • ‘In 37 years it has never looked so inelegant and bedraggled.’
    • ‘Good games can be elegant or inelegant, elegant games can be good or bad.’
    • ‘I want him to feel so unhappy that he makes an inelegant departure.’
    • ‘For too long sword-wielding psychos have been brought down with bullets or capsicum spray, methods which are not only unfair, but inelegant.’
    • ‘In the end I had to take off my jacket, wedge it into the footing and make my way down in an inelegant tangle of legs and arms.’
    • ‘The great man's house was a contrast: a large and inelegant structure, painted white outside but with the rooms inside very dark.’
    • ‘When you reach a certain age, it's kind of inelegant to date.’
    • ‘His ungainly, inelegant posture can leave him exposed against nimbler opponents, and he easily attracts ridicule.’
    • ‘From the late 1960s the hotel slid into a prolonged and inelegant decline.’
    • ‘There is a clunky, inelegant quality to these objects that is matched by the deliberately crude quality of the plywood tables and shelves on which they rest.’
    • ‘My walk is an inelegant bob… as if navigating a choppy sea.’
    • ‘While he continues to deliver low blows in equally inelegant packaging, his apologists say he merely has an unclassifiable sense of humour.’
    • ‘It was brutish and inelegant but hugely enjoyable.’
    unrefined, uncouth, unsophisticated, unpolished, uncultured, uncultivated, gauche
    ungraceful, graceless, ungainly, uncoordinated, gawky, gangling, awkward, clumsy, lumbering, blundering
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of language) unpolished.
      ‘an inelegant title’
      • ‘It gets the info across but also sets a workmanlike and inelegant tone.’
      • ‘This sort of inelegant lie should be a warning to anyone who tries to understand the country through the words of their spokesmen.’
      • ‘First, the book is loaded with the technical and markedly inelegant jargon of postmodern philosophy.’
      • ‘Although written in rather inelegant and sometimes ungrammatical prose, this is an insightful and original work, based on a remarkable range of evidence.’
      • ‘You could hardly call it normality, especially in a country that prefers the inelegant word ‘normalcy’.’
      • ‘One objection is that they'll let various inelegant usages into the language, but that is a tough basis on which to make one's argument.’
      • ‘When you copy from another author and don't let your readers know it, it's called inelegant footnoting, not plagiarism.’
      • ‘That's an inelegant way to describe it, I know, but when I was looking at it, I felt this pull in me.’
      • ‘The instances given are, in the inelegant language of paragraph 5, ‘non-exhaustive’.’
      • ‘I don't think there is a disagreeable, inelegant sentence in the book.’


Early 16th century: from French inélégant, from Latin inelegant-, from in- ‘not’ + Latin elegant- ‘fastidious, refined’ (see elegant).