English Synonyms and Antonyms
Awkward, from awk (kindred with off, from the Norwegian), is off-ward, turned the wrong way; it was anciently used of a back-handed or left-handed blow in battle, of squinting eyes, etc. Clumsy, on the other hand (from clumse, also through the Norwegian), signifies benumbed, stiffened with cold; this is the original meaning of clumsy fingers, clumsy limbs. Thus, awkward primarily refers to action, clumsy to condition. A tool, a vehicle, or the human frame may be clumsy in shape or build, awkward in motion. The clumsy man is almost of necessity awkward, but the awkward man may not be naturally clumsy. The finest untrained colt is awkward in harness; a horse that is clumsy in build can never be trained out of awkwardness. An awkward statement has an uncomfortable, and perhaps recoiling force; a statement that contains ill-assorted and incongruous material in ill-chosen language is clumsy. We speak of an awkward predicament, an awkward scrape. An awkward excuse commonly reflects on the one who offers it. We say the admitted facts have an awkward appearance. In none of these cases could clumsy be used. Clumsy is, however, applied to movements that seem as unsuitable as those of benumbed and stiffened limbs. A dancing bear is both clumsy and awkward.
The raw recruit is awkward in action; at the business.
Translations for boorish
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