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’
    • ‘While he continues to deliver low blows in equally inelegant packaging, his apologists say he merely has an unclassifiable sense of humour.’
    • ‘In 37 years it has never looked so inelegant and bedraggled.’
    • ‘My walk is an inelegant bob… as if navigating a choppy sea.’
    • ‘For too long sword-wielding psychos have been brought down with bullets or capsicum spray, methods which are not only unfair, but inelegant.’
    • ‘Drink choices include a house red and white wine (served in an inelegant tumbler), teas, coffees and juices.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Every so often there is a frenzy of activity, involving the chorus charging off stage or a supremely inelegant dance.’
    • ‘His ungainly, inelegant posture can leave him exposed against nimbler opponents, and he easily attracts ridicule.’
    • ‘The great man's house was a contrast: a large and inelegant structure, painted white outside but with the rooms inside very dark.’
    • ‘It was brutish and inelegant but hugely enjoyable.’
    • ‘The young gentleman listens manfully to my abortive attempts to demonstrate my interest with a light smile, while I slowly turn an inelegant purple.’
    • ‘Second only to the inelegant word ‘Kafkaesque’, the term ‘Orwellian’ is the next most over-used adjective in the English language.’
    • ‘From the late 1960s the hotel slid into a prolonged and inelegant decline.’
    • ‘I want him to feel so unhappy that he makes an inelegant departure.’
    • ‘Good games can be elegant or inelegant, elegant games can be good or bad.’
    • ‘It may have looked somewhat inelegant, but it worked so well for 45 years that it attracted international attention.’
    • ‘It was dark and slightly inelegant, and I thought it was so cool.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When you reach a certain age, it's kind of inelegant to date.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An inelegant or nonstandard repair that nevertheless works.’
    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’
      • ‘First, the book is loaded with the technical and markedly inelegant jargon of postmodern philosophy.’
      • ‘I don't think there is a disagreeable, inelegant sentence in the book.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The instances given are, in the inelegant language of paragraph 5, ‘non-exhaustive’.’
      • ‘You could hardly call it normality, especially in a country that prefers the inelegant word ‘normalcy’.’
      • ‘Although written in rather inelegant and sometimes ungrammatical prose, this is an insightful and original work, based on a remarkable range of evidence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's an inelegant way to describe it, I know, but when I was looking at it, I felt this pull in me.’
      • ‘When you copy from another author and don't let your readers know it, it's called inelegant footnoting, not plagiarism.’


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