Definition of awkward squad in US English:

awkward squad


  • A set of people within an organization or team who tend to behave in an obstructive way or express opposition or dissent.

    ‘he revels just a little too much in his membership of the awkward squad’
    • ‘He claims his agenda is industrial rather than political but observers say he will fit in with the new awkward squad of younger, more militant union leaders.’
    • ‘Too many hostile journalists have already consigned him to the ranks of the awkward squad.’
    • ‘They are probably quite happy with their extra income and it is only when the awkward squad makes waves that they even bother to comment.’
    • ‘He became the first leader of a large union to swell the ranks of the awkward squad and was the first indicator that the unions were turning against New Labour.’
    • ‘The Government whips of the day knew I would never be a member of the awkward squad.’
    • ‘It is harder to see why that should be so attractive to the awkward squad of left-wing Labour MPs on the back benches.’
    • ‘Once described as a one-man awkward squad, Bennett is nothing if not prickly and morally unforgiving.’
    • ‘His parents were the village awkward squad, anti-socialists in a community of socialists, who built fences to separate them from other, more gregarious pioneers.’
    • ‘The Brits are seen, even by former friends, as outsiders and leaders of the awkward squad.’
    • ‘They need to learn to deal with the awkward squad, because, at some time in their lives, they are bound to meet people like that.’


Late 18th century: apparently with reference to military recruits.