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- Awkward as a bull in a china shop —Anon
This still popular simile endures with many substitutions for the bull such as “A blind dog,”“A gorilla,”“A monkey.” Often, instead of a substitute comparison, a different context can lift a simile like this beyond the cliche; for example, “Like wild bulls in a china shop … are my awkward hands of love” from poet Delmore Schwartz’s journals and notes.
- Awkward as learning newly learned —Adrienne Rich
- Awkward in her movements, as if she had been in solitary for years —Ross Macdonald
- Awkward … like a guest at a party to whose members he carried bad news he had no right to know, no right to tell —Hortense Calisher
- Awkward like a leaden ballet dancer lifting a fat partner —Ed McBain
- Awoke as stiff as if I’d been spray-starched —Jonathan Kellerman
- Blunder and fumble like a moth … a rabbit caught in the glare of a torch —William Faulkner
- Bumbled up to him like a mole —Wilfrid Sheed
- Clumsy as two kids on their first date —Anon
- Clumsy … like a leaky old engine with the driving belt slipping and steam escaping from every joint —Christopher Isherwood
- Feel awkward like a boy on a date with an older girl —Bobbie Ann Mason
- Graceless as a pelican on the ground —George Garrett
- Had about as much grace as a hippopotamus in a bubble bath —Harry Prince
- Has the grace of an arthritic elephant on roller skates —Corey Sandler
- Moved thickly, like a clumsy, good-tempered horse —William Faulkner
- Moving stiffly like a man in a body cast —Martin Cruz Smith
- She ran on like a clumsy goat, trampling and trespassing on land that was preserved —Daphne du Maurier
- Stiff as a gaffer —Richard Wilbur
- Stiff as a line in Euclid —Saul Bellow
- Stiff as a poker grew —Wallace Irwin
- Stumbling about like a drunken bear —James Crumley
- Uncoordinated as a rag doll —Dorothea Straus
- Unwieldy as a pregnant elephant —Anon
all thumbs Awkward, inept; clumsy, butterfingered. A forerunner of the current expression appeared in John Hey wood’s Proverbs in 1546:
When he should get ought, each finger is a thumb.
The phrase as we know it was in use by 1870:
Your uneducated man is all thumbs, as the phrase runs; and what education does for him is to supply him with clever fingers. (The Echo, November 16, 1870)
flub the dub See RUINATION.
have two left feet To be unusually clumsy; uncoordinated, maladroit. The expression does not constitute an image of deformity, but an emphasis on the negative concepts of left as ‘gauche, awkward, clumsy.’
Mr. Dawson … gave it as his opinion that one of the lady dancers had two left feet. (P. G. Wodehouse, Psmith Journalist, 1915)
|Noun||1.||awkwardness - unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training|
unskillfulness - a lack of cognitive skill
rustiness - ineptitude or awkwardness as a consequence of age or lack of practice; "his rustiness showed when he was asked to speed up"
|2.||awkwardness - the quality of an embarrassing situation; "he sensed the awkwardness of his proposal"|
disadvantage - the quality of having an inferior or less favorable position
|3.||awkwardness - the carriage of someone whose movements and posture are ungainly or inelegant|
gracelessness, ungracefulness - an unpleasant lack of grace in carriage or form or movement or expression
gawkiness, ungainliness - the carriage of someone whose movements and posture are extremely ungainly and inelegant
stiffness - the property of moving with pain or difficulty; "he awoke with a painful stiffness in his neck"
gracefulness - beautiful carriage
|4.||awkwardness - the inelegance of someone stiff and unrelaxed (as by embarrassment)|
inelegance - the quality of lacking refinement and good taste
woodenness - the quality of being wooden and awkward; "he criticized the woodenness of the acting"; "there was a certain woodenness in his replies"
|5.||awkwardness - trouble in carrying or managing caused by bulk or shape; "the movers cursed the unwieldiness of the big piano"|