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Searching for synonyms for awkward? Here’s some similar words from our thesaurus you can use instead.
awkward as in causing inconvenience
  • "they arrived at an awkward time"
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awkward as in lacking grace or skill in manner or movement or performance
  • "an awkward dancer"
  • "an awkward gesture"
  • "too awkward with a needle to make her own clothes"
  • "his clumsy fingers produced an awkward knot"
awkward as in difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape
  • "an awkward bundle to carry"
  • "a load of bunglesome paraphernalia"
  • "clumsy wooden shoes"
  • "the cello, a rather ungainly instrument for a girl"


  • bunglesome difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape
  • clumsy lacking grace in movement or posture; not elegant or graceful in expression; difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape; showing lack of skill or aptitude
  • ungainly lacking grace in movement or posture; difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape
awkward as in not elegant or graceful in expression
  • "an awkward prose style"
  • "a clumsy apology"
  • "his cumbersome writing style"
  • "if the rumor is true, can anything be more inept than to repeat it now?"


  • clumsy lacking grace in movement or posture; not elegant or graceful in expression; difficult to handle or manage especially because of shape; showing lack of skill or aptitude
  • cumbersome difficult to handle or use especially because of size or weight; not elegant or graceful in expression
  • inapt not elegant or graceful in expression
  • inept not elegant or graceful in expression; generally incompetent and ineffectual; revealing lack of perceptiveness or judgment or finesse
  • ill-chosen not elegant or graceful in expression
awkward as in hard to deal with
  • "especially causing pain or embarrassment"
  • "awkward (or embarrassing or difficult) moments in the discussion"
  • "an awkward pause followed his remark"
  • "a sticky question"
  • "in the unenviable position of resorting to an act he had planned to save for the climax of the campaign"


  • embarrassing hard to deal with; causing to feel shame or chagrin or vexation
  • sticky having the sticky properties of an adhesive ; moist as with undried perspiration and with clothing sticking to the body; hot or warm and humid; hard to deal with; covered with an adhesive material
  • unenviable hard to deal with; so undesirable as to be incapable of arousing envy
awkward as in socially uncomfortable
  • "unsure and constrained in manner"
  • "awkward and reserved at parties"
  • "ill at ease among eddies of people he didn't know"
  • "was always uneasy with strangers"


  • ill at ease(p)
  • uneasy lacking a sense of security or affording no ease or reassurance; lacking or not affording physical or mental rest; causing or fraught with or showing anxiety; socially uncomfortable; relating to bodily unease that causes discomfort

Exploring Alternatives: Synonyms for Awkward

Hey there! Ever found yourself in a situation that just felt... well, awkward? We've all been there – stumbling over our words, fidgeting nervously, wishing we could sink into the floor and disappear. But fear not, because in this article, we're going to uncover some fresh and exciting alternatives to the word awkward. Whether you're describing a cringe-worthy moment, an uncomfortable encounter, or just trying to navigate the social minefield of everyday life, having a variety of words to express awkwardness can definitely come in handy. So, let's dive in and discover some new ways to describe those oh-so-embarrassing situations!

Unveiling the Alternatives: A Linguistic Journey

Picture this: you're at a party, trying to make conversation with someone you've just met. But instead of smooth banter, you find yourself stumbling over your words and tripping over your own feet. That feeling of discomfort, of not quite fitting in – that's what we're talking about when we say something is awkward. But what if we could capture that essence with different words, each offering its own unique shade of discomfort? Get ready to expand your linguistic horizons as we delve into the synonyms for awkward.

The Unease of Uncomfortable

Uncomfortable, like wearing a scratchy sweater that's just a size too small, evokes a sense of unease and restlessness. It's the kind of discomfort that makes you squirm in your seat and wish you were anywhere else. Consider using uncomfortable in contexts such as:

  • The silence between them grew increasingly uncomfortable as neither knew what to say.
  • She shifted in her chair, feeling uncomfortable under his intense gaze.

The Tension of Tense

Tense, akin to a rubber band stretched to its breaking point, conveys a sense of strained or uneasy atmosphere. It's the kind of discomfort that hangs in the air, palpable and suffocating. Try incorporating tense into your descriptions:

  • The conversation at the dinner table grew increasingly tense as they tiptoed around sensitive topics.
  • His body language was tense, his shoulders hunched and his jaw clenched.

The Awkwardness of Clumsy

Clumsy, like a bull in a china shop, embodies a sense of awkwardness and inelegance. It's the kind of discomfort that comes from feeling out of place or out of sync with your surroundings. Use clumsy to describe awkward movements or interactions:

  • He fumbled with his keys, his clumsy fingers struggling to find the right one.
  • She laughed nervously, her clumsy attempt at humor falling flat.

The Discomfort of Disconcerting

Disconcerting, like a sudden shift in the wind that leaves you feeling unsettled and off-balance, conveys a sense of discomfort and unease. It's the kind of awkwardness that catches you off guard and leaves you feeling vulnerable. Employ disconcerting to describe unsettling or disorienting situations:

  • His sudden outburst was disconcerting, leaving everyone in the room speechless.
  • The eerie silence in the abandoned house was deeply disconcerting, sending shivers down her spine.

The Embarrassment of Cringeworthy

Cringeworthy, like watching a train wreck in slow motion, embodies a sense of embarrassment and discomfort. It's the kind of awkwardness that makes you want to cover your eyes and pretend you didn't see anything. Embrace cringeworthy to describe situations that are painfully awkward or embarrassing:

  • His attempts at flirting were so cringeworthy that she couldn't help but feel sorry for him.
  • The movie was filled with cringeworthy moments that had the audience squirming in their seats.

Questions and Answers

1. How does uncomfortable differ from tense?

Uncomfortable conveys a sense of unease or restlessness, while tense implies a strained or uneasy atmosphere.

2. Can clumsy be used to describe social interactions?

Yes, clumsy can be used to describe awkward or inelegant social interactions, such as stumbling over words or making awkward gestures.

3. When should I use disconcerting instead of awkward?

Use disconcerting to describe situations that are unsettling or disorienting, particularly when they catch you off guard and leave you feeling vulnerable.

4. Is cringeworthy only used to describe embarrassing situations?

While cringeworthy is commonly used to describe embarrassing situations, it can also be used more broadly to describe anything that is painfully awkward or uncomfortable to witness.

5. What's the difference between disconcerting and cringeworthy?

Disconcerting conveys a sense of unease or discomfort, while cringeworthy implies a feeling of embarrassment or awkwardness.

Conclusion: Expand Your Lexicon, Navigate with Ease

In a world filled with social nuances and delicate interactions, having a diverse vocabulary to describe awkwardness can be a lifesaver. Whether you're navigating a tricky conversation, enduring an uncomfortable silence, or just trying to make it through an awkward encounter unscathed, having the right words at your disposal can make all the difference. So, why settle for the same old word when you can sprinkle a bit of discomfort, unease, or embarrassment into your language? Let your words reflect the full range of human experience and watch as your interactions become smoother and more effortless. Happy word hunting!

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