Definition of unwieldy in US English:

unwieldy

adjective

  • 1Difficult to carry or move because of its size, shape, or weight.

    ‘the first mechanical clocks were large and unwieldy’
    • ‘As a downside, they're rather hot and unwieldy, being difficult to remove in a hurry.’
    • ‘A one-handed lift can be used for picking up all objects except the heaviest or most unwieldy items.’
    • ‘Over time, with the emergence of smaller houses to suit the nuclear family, they were discarded as unwieldy and old fashioned.’
    • ‘It's more expensive, and from personal experience, somewhat unwieldy, but it may help solve your problem.’
    • ‘I've just opened an invitation to a launch party, which was encased in the sharpest, heaviest, most unwieldy envelope in the western world.’
    • ‘His handcrafted planks are anything but dense and unwieldy.’
    • ‘But their size makes them unwieldy in city streets, and their acceleration is not tremendous.’
    • ‘True, his bike was unwieldy by modern standards, weighing 57 lb, but it was, and is, clearly the world's first such machine.’
    • ‘It is about to become a very long, heavy, unwieldy and unreliable train, one that the traditional Franco-German engine will not be able to pull alone.’
    • ‘The mask's unwieldy construction made it difficult to fall asleep.’
    • ‘Large books, he advises, are often costly and somewhat unwieldy.’
    • ‘The RX helicopter gently lowers its unwieldy load like a mother lying her child on the ground.’
    • ‘Accompanied by bugles, two picadors then make their way out, their horses sheathed in an unwieldy but effective armour.’
    • ‘So the books that you read shouldn't be too unwieldy in weight, nor contain particularly tight typesetting or small font size.’
    • ‘It was bulky, unwieldy and would not go far, given the cost of satellite transponders.’
    • ‘The elephant, unwieldy and awkward yet graceful and powerful, becomes an allegory for the form itself.’
    • ‘It was becoming increasingly difficult to hide his unwieldy bulk.’
    • ‘Their balance is incredible, but you understand it when you see them herding horses with their long willow poles, which are so heavy and unwieldy.’
    • ‘The sledge hammer my father used was as unwieldy as ever, so I began with the smaller toys, smashing them with the joy of a titan.’
    • ‘It also sounds like the noise that the aforementioned primary school child would make if they were given an unwieldy cello with which to hone their skills.’
    cumbersome, unmanageable, unhandy, unmanoeuvrable
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a system or bureaucracy) too big or badly organized to function efficiently.
      • ‘They expect him to cut the unwieldy board by 10, give the public a bigger voice.’
      • ‘Critics say the plan would create an unwieldy bureaucracy with a hidden agenda.’
      • ‘As cavalry platoons became too unwieldy, they were finally replaced by smaller paired tank and scout platoons.’
      • ‘It also criticised it for not reacting to signals from the market place and for having a structure that's too unwieldy and fragmented.’
      • ‘The project of fixing our political system is an unwieldy one for those of us with a theoretical bent.’
      • ‘What is dismaying is that the salary bill and the administrative costs go on rising, which means the size of the government continues to be unwieldy.’
      • ‘This presupposes a reasonably developed infrastructure and thus a system less unwieldy than that of the United Nations.’
      • ‘The fear was that such a big country was so unwieldy that there would be a tendency for a central authoritarian ruler to emerge.’
      • ‘Last year, he, frustrated by the unwieldy size of the board of directors, decided he would quit.’
      • ‘In 2001, he inherited a large and unwieldy agency in post-Cold War drift.’
      • ‘Having all 12 clubs at a monthly meeting has proved unwieldy, so a smaller board will meet monthly with a general meeting taking place every two months.’
      • ‘The large and unwieldy, Department of Human Resources Canada has been broken up into two departments.’
      • ‘Paper ballots and physical presence in the polling station make the system too unwieldy to hack.’
      • ‘He admitted the CFP was a ‘very unwieldy piece of legislation’ but insisted that progress was being made.’
      • ‘Fiba is an unwieldy bureaucracy that is not much concerned with policing its teams.’
      • ‘The Cabinet already looked unwieldy for a population so small and which needed instead a lean and mean Cabinet to start delivering.’
      • ‘But you soon realise big organisations are unwieldy.’
      • ‘The president of the union Siptu also voiced concern that the negotiations would become unwieldy.’
      • ‘While this would be less unwieldy than a system of financial payments, it is still not ideal.’
      • ‘The Roman empire had maintained an unwieldy and elaborate tax system, based mainly on landed property and its agricultural exploitation.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘lacking strength, infirm’): from un- ‘not’ + wieldy (in the obsolete sense ‘active’).

Pronunciation

unwieldy

/ˌənˈwēldē//ˌənˈwildi/