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Clumsiness   /klˈəmzinəs/   Listen
Clumsiness

noun
1.
Unskillfulness resulting from a lack of training.  Synonyms: awkwardness, ineptitude, ineptness, maladroitness, slowness.
2.
The carriage of someone whose movements and posture are ungainly or inelegant.  Synonym: awkwardness.
3.
The inelegance of someone stiff and unrelaxed (as by embarrassment).  Synonyms: awkwardness, gracelessness, stiffness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Clumsiness" Quotes from Famous Books



... skill on the part of the operator. He should in that case renew his experiments upon himself, and continue them until he has fully mastered the use of the instrument, as it is not fair to make others suffer for his own clumsiness. ...
— The Mechanism of the Human Voice • Emil Behnke

... except railways and telegraphs, which have become a military and political necessity, growing out of the progress of neighboring powers—while many of their fabrics are still made by hand, and their mints, presses, and fire-engines are of almost primeval clumsiness, the Russians eagerly grasp at all novelties, and are wonderfully quick in the comprehension of their uses and advantages. A similar comparison might be made in reference to the freedom of internal trade, ...
— The Land of Thor • J. Ross Browne

... pressure, but he rightly regards it as a subsidiary cause. The Germans did little more than "blow on the fire kindled by our own clumsiness and violences." Baron Schenck, the director of the German propaganda at Athens, watched our coercion of King Constantine with that apparent indignation and secret joy which the faults of an enemy inspire, and when expelled by the Allies, ...
— Greece and the Allies 1914-1922 • G. F. Abbott

... Frenchmen shaking out sail after sail; and soon one schooner, a perfect cloud of canvas, took the lead, and left her consorts far in the rear. It was the privateer they were after. The jackies of the "Delaware" clambered into the rigging, and set all sail, with the clumsiness of merchant-sailors; but, though the ship spread a large expanse of canvas, she was making but little progress, for two long cables dragged in the water astern, holding her back. The Frenchman came up gallantly, ...
— The Naval History of the United States - Volume 1 (of 2) • Willis J. Abbot

... matter?" he asked, without flinching. "I think you understand the sort of person I am. You would have nothing to fear from any admiration on my part—or anything of that sort," he added, with some show of clumsiness. "Those things do not come in my life. I am ambitious to get on, to succeed and become wealthy. Other things I do not ...
— The Tempting of Tavernake • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... he imagined, given him direct challenge. He was a little amazed by her boldness but did not stop to ask himself questions, she had openly invited him to pursue her. That was enough. His accustomed awkwardness and clumsiness went away and he leaped lightly over the extended tongues of wagons and buggies. He caught Clara in dark corner of the shed. Without a word he took her tightly into his arms and kissed her, first upon the neck and then on the mouth. She lay trembling and weak in ...
— Poor White • Sherwood Anderson

... sea quickly stopped our forward movement, and we began to drift backward over the spot where the skiff had been. Big Alec's black head and swarthy face popped up within arm's reach; and all unsuspecting and very angry with what he took to be the clumsiness of amateur sailors, he was hauled aboard. Also he was out of breath, for he had dived deep and stayed down long to escape ...
— Tales of the Fish Patrol • Jack London

... reports were bad. It did not matter how many sins her boys were accused of, so long as they were not stupid, or inferior. If they seemed to brook insult, she hated them. And it was only a certain gaucherie, a gawkiness on Anna's part that irritated her against the girl. Certain forms of clumsiness, grossness, made the mother's eyes glow with curious rage. Otherwise she ...
— The Rainbow • D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

... am accounting for a great deal of this earth's isolation: that it is relatively isolated by circumstances that are similar to the circumstances that make for relative isolation of the bottom of the ocean—except that there is a clumsiness of analogy now. To call ourselves deep-sea fishes has been convenient, but, in a quasi-existence, there is no convenience that will not sooner or later turn awkward—so, if there be denser regions aloft, these regions should now be regarded as analogues of far-submerged oceanic regions, and ...
— The Book of the Damned • Charles Fort

... respectable; and the doorstep which gave them a temporary resting-place belonged to no far-famed Stepney or Poplar. It stood in a little, old-fashioned, old-world court, back of Bloomsbury. They were a foreign-looking little pair—not in their dress, which was truly English in its clumsiness and want of picturesque coloring—but their faces were foreign. The contour was peculiar, the setting of the two pairs of eyes—un-Saxon. They sat very close together, a grave little couple. Presently the girl threw her arm round the boy's neck, the boy laid his ...
— The Children's Pilgrimage • L. T. Meade

... period. A larger variety in their attitudes is indeed to be traced, and a greater energy and life appears in most of the figures; but there is still much the same heaviness of outline, the same over-muscularity, and the same general clumsiness and want of grace. Animal forms show a much more considerable improvement. Horses are excellently portrayed, the attitudes being varied, and the heads especially delineated with great spirit. Mules and camels are well expressed, but have ...
— The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria • George Rawlinson

... do not know anything that passed upon that terrace. How should I know? Neither of them was likely to tell old Smith. And I wonder at the clumsiness of novelists in pretending to reveal all that he said, and all that she answered. But if I were such a clumsy novelist, I should like to invent it all, and see if I couldn't make you believe every ...
— Adela Cathcart, Vol. 3 • George MacDonald

... shocked rage, began to curse Gordon's clumsiness, and, in his excitement, the wound bled more redly. "You will have to keep quiet," he was told, ...
— Mountain Blood - A Novel • Joseph Hergesheimer

... writing) a very pretty boy, and (to my European views) startlingly self-possessed. My time of observation was so limited that you must pardon me if I can say no more: what else I marked, what restlessness of foot and hand, what graceful clumsiness, what experimental designs upon the furniture, was but the common inheritance of human youth. But you may perhaps like to know that the lean flushed man in bed, who interested you so little, was in a state of mind extremely mingled and unpleasant: harassed with ...
— Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson - Volume 2 • Robert Louis Stevenson

... the man who is not made To his trade Swords to fling and catch again, Coins to ring and snatch again, Men to harm and cure again, Snakes to charm and lure again— He'll be hurt by his own blade, By his serpents disobeyed, By his clumsiness bewrayed,' By the people mocked to scorn— So 'tis not with juggler born! Pinch of dust or withered flower, Chance-flung fruit or borrowed staff, Serve his need and shore his power, Bind the spell, or loose the laugh! But ...
— Kim • Rudyard Kipling

... ever being needlessly hurt by Admiralty tactlessness. He had good reason on many occasions to take offence at their clumsiness. One of numerous grievances was Sir Sydney Smith being, to all appearances, put over him. He wrote to Lord St. Vincent, and reminded him that he was a man, and that it was impossible for him to serve in the ...
— Drake, Nelson and Napoleon • Walter Runciman

... poetry. It is a familiar observation from beginners in German who have any literary taste, that German poetry reads naturally, German prose does not. In verse the German disencumbers himself of that gruesome clumsiness which almost always besets him in the art he learnt so late, and never learnt to any perfection. To "say" is a trouble to him, a trouble too often unconquerable; to sing is easy enough. And this truth, true of all centuries of German literature, is never truer than here. Translated or ...
— The Flourishing of Romance and the Rise of Allegory - (Periods of European Literature, vol. II) • George Saintsbury

... the gold-fishes. He was very proud of the honour till the gold fell from his hand among the gold-fishes. How appropriate was the misadventure! But Miss Black Eyes, angry at her loss and her swain's clumsiness, cried: "Jump into the pond, sir, and find my purse instanter!" Several wags encouraged her, and the ladies were of the opinion that her adorer should certainly dive for the treasure. "Alas," the fellow said, "I cannot swim, Miss. But tell me how many guineas you carried ...
— The Works of Max Beerbohm • Max Beerbohm

... intended as an apology, or at least as an explanation of sorts. It was rather appealing in its boyish clumsiness, but she felt too numb, too utterly ...
— The Moon out of Reach • Margaret Pedler

... in Plates III. and IV., and those in Plates V. and VI. It is in the two 'cello bow heads that the greatest resemblance is seen. But even here one can easily note the unwonted massiveness, almost amounting to clumsiness, in that of Dodd; while the Tourte is full of lightness, strength and vigour. There is more or less of sluggishness observable in most of the preceding bows, but the Tourte ...
— The Bow, Its History, Manufacture and Use - 'The Strad' Library, No. III. • Henry Saint-George

... hubarah of the Mohammedan high-caste woman drawn down to her very brows, and over the entire face the black street veil. Not a feature visible. Not an eyebrow. Not an eyelash, not a hint of the small person herself, except a very small white, ringed hand, lifted as if in defense of his clumsiness. ...
— The Fortieth Door • Mary Hastings Bradley

... very much neglected by popular favor. Its physical clumsiness, its lack of sporting competition in comparison with the airplane which must fight to keep itself up in the air, its lack of romance as contrasted with that of the airplane in war, have all tended to cast somewhat of a ...
— Opportunities in Aviation • Arthur Sweetser

... two seconds, perhaps five, dropping on my knee with my head low beside it. For some reason I did not finish tying the laces. I sprang up, threw my right leg forward preparatory to doubling, and then ping—I was spinning on the ground, laughing at my own clumsiness in falling down. Then I glanced to see why my right knee-cap stung me so much. I stopped laughing. A bullet had split across the skin—rafle, the French call it—and a shred of my trousers, mixed with some shreds of skin, was hanging down covered with blood. Half a second before my head ...
— Indiscreet Letters From Peking • B. L. Putman Weale

... know. Look at the man! That's the fourth time he's landed his line in a bush! He'll fall into that pool if he's not—mercy!—there he goes! Did you ever see such a genius for clumsiness?" ...
— The Danger Mark • Robert W. Chambers

... inherent desire to simulate grows, or it does not grow. You cannot make it grow. If a naturally awkward man can simulate the graces of a dancing master, if a naturally graceful man can simulate the limp of a cripple or the clumsiness of a hobbledehoy, if a comparative dwarf—like Kean—can assume the majesty of a monarch, then he is an actor. You may teach him to fence, and to dance, and to elocute till he is black in the face; you will never teach him to play "Othello" unless he is an actor. That fencing, dancing, and elocution ...
— The Idler Magazine, Volume III, June 1893 - An Illustrated Monthly • Various

... a vitality that has been brought out by earnest effort to reproduce the spirit desired. Undoubtedly the lasting success of early American craftsmanship has been due to the perfect treatment of proportions, as related one to the other. That these are not imitations is proved by an occasional clumsiness which would be impossible, if they were exact copies of their ...
— American Cookery - November, 1921 • Various

... John slaved at "footer," and displayed a curious inaptitude for squash racquets. At all games Caesar and Scaife were precociously proficient. John's clumsiness annoyed them. Often the Caterpillar joined him and Fluff, giving them to understand that this must be regarded as an act of grace and condescension which might be suitably acknowledged ...
— The Hill - A Romance of Friendship • Horace Annesley Vachell

... communicative, if their truth be not apparent, by the manner in which he has set forth the events in the tale itself, he must be content to lie under the imputation of having disfigured it, by his own clumsiness. All testimony must, in the nature of things, resolve itself into three great classes—the positive, the negative, and the circumstantial. The first and the last are universally admitted to be entitled to the most consideration, ...
— The Red Rover • James Fenimore Cooper

... beyond all praise. They went up the most severe ascent I have ever seen, climbing steadily for nine hours, without a touch of the spur, and after twenty-four hours of cold, thirst, and hunger, came down again as actively as cats. The pack-horses too were very good, but from the comparative clumsiness with which they move their feet they were very ...
— The Hawaiian Archipelago • Isabella L. Bird

... augured well from his apparent clumsiness, but for what he had heard of him. For Carlos Santander, though having the repute of a swaggerer, with some suspicion of cowardice, had proved himself a dangerous adversary by twice killing his man. His ...
— The Free Lances - A Romance of the Mexican Valley • Mayne Reid

... philosopher and wily tactician, grinned at his fallen laurels and let them lie. He had that day accomplished the most delicate task to which he had ever set his hand. Behind the mask of masculine clumsiness he had subtly worked his levers and achieved his end. And he was well satisfied ...
— The Keeper of the Door • Ethel M. Dell

... He knew that the boat, drifting down with the current, was now exactly opposite to him. He heard the splash of the oars striking the water; although in their haste and clumsiness the three Carson boys were in danger of upsetting their craft while trying to turn ...
— The Strange Cabin on Catamount Island • Lawrence J. Leslie

... him to go back to his foundations and to find them still standing. He lost his tongue-tied clumsiness and spoke rapidly, clearly, with brief, strong gestures. His haggard youth gave place to a forcible, aggressive maturity. He was like an architect who had planned for every inch and stone of his masterpiece. Next year he would pass his finals. He would take posts as locum tenens whenever he ...
— The Dark House • I. A. R. Wylie

... thought that this man, whoever he was or whatever his purpose might be, would be encountered best by himself singly. If Mr. Compton took part he would at once awaken Cigole's fears by his clumsiness. ...
— Cord and Creese • James de Mille

... sing at our concerts—his tight little figure stepping to and fro, and his feet shuffling to the air, his eyes seeking and bestowing encouragement—and to have enjoyed the bow, so nicely calculated between jest and earnest, between grace and clumsiness, with which he brought each song to a conclusion. He was not only a great favourite among ourselves, but his songs attracted the lords of the saloon, who often leaned to hear him over the rails of ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 2 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... road, the shadowy cavernous places where the demons lie in wait for one, as they do for the wayfarer (do you remember?), in Bewick, who, desiring to rest by the roadside, finds the dingle all alive with ambushed fiends, horned and heavy-limbed, swollen with the oppressive clumsiness of nightmare. But you are not inexperienced or weak. You have enough philosophy to wait until the frozen mood thaws, and the old thrill comes back. That is one of the real compensations of middle age. When one is ...
— The Upton Letters • Arthur Christopher Benson

... fire sixteen times without reloading, and which will kill at a hundred yards' distance. With a weapon unknown to me I might not only fail altogether, but I might not improbably do serious injury, by my clumsiness ...
— Across the Zodiac • Percy Greg

... Gorju declaimed against the clumsiness of all "these country fellows," then, on his knees in front of the article of furniture, he tried to put the piece in its place. Pecuchet, while offering to assist him, traced beneath the dust faces of ...
— Bouvard and Pecuchet - A Tragi-comic Novel of Bourgeois Life • Gustave Flaubert

... disparity of their statures forebade; moreover, George entertained a vexatious suspicion that P. Sybarite's explanation on his recent downfall had not been altogether disingenuous; he didn't quite believe it had been due solely to his own clumsiness and an adventitious foot. ...
— The Day of Days - An Extravaganza • Louis Joseph Vance

... Joyce, it seems more like a white man's clumsiness. The fellow has been made to resemble an Indian, but people of our own colour have had a ...
— Wyandotte • James Fenimore Cooper

... would designate as "buffers," inviting the public to come forward and subscribe for the purchase of the house where Keats died at Rome, in order to make it a sort of Museum, sacred to him and Shelley. I was amused, because of the strange ineptitude and clumsiness of the proposal. In the first place, to make a shrine of pilgrimage for two of our great English poets in Rome, of all places—that is fantastic enough; but to select the house which Keats entered a dying man, and where he spent about four months ...
— The Silent Isle • Arthur Christopher Benson

... quite carelessly about the room for a minute or two, and then flung myself heavily upon the bed, fully dressed; and as I did so I heard Pacheco go tiptoeing clumsily back to the table, stumbling against a chair on the way, and muttering imprecations at his own clumsiness as he went. A further gurgling of liquor being poured into a glass followed, then a deep sigh of satisfaction as the glass was emptied, the bang of it as it was noisily replaced on the table, and finally the man's staggering footsteps ...
— A Middy of the King - A Romance of the Old British Navy • Harry Collingwood

... entirely agree with other narratives of what followed on the death of the Buddha[553]. It seems to be a combination of two documents, for it opens as a narrative by Kassapa, but it soon turns into a narrative about him. But the clumsiness in compilation and the errors of detail are hardly sufficient to discredit an event which is probable in itself and left an impression on tradition. The Buddha combined great personal authority with equally great liberality. While ...
— Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol I. (of 3) - An Historical Sketch • Charles Eliot

... reception for which he was not prepared. He had sustained a severe shock; but luckily his bones were whole. Recovering from his alarm, he heard a low jabbering noise, and presently a light, which, it seems, had been extinguished by his clumsiness, was again approaching. ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2) • John Roby

... he was ever ready to skip off on errands of mercy, his wooden leg clicking a vigorous tattoo to his rapid movements. He was especially proud of that wooden leg, a combination of joints and springs so wonderful that he was often heard to lament the clumsiness of the ...
— The Doctor - A Tale Of The Rockies • Ralph Connor

... he comes!" exclaimed Dick, as the hunter referred to came thundering up the slope at a charge, on a horse that resembled its rider in size and not a little in clumsiness of appearance. ...
— The Dog Crusoe and His Master - A Story of Adventure in the Western Prairies • Robert Michael Ballantyne

... wonderingly but complacently, and, though quite conscious, Mistress Fiddy involuntarily sighed out "mother." Very motherly was the elder woman's assurance: "Yes, my dear, I'll serve as madam your mother in her absence, till madam herself comes; and she'll laugh at our confusion and clumsiness, ...
— Girlhood and Womanhood - The Story of some Fortunes and Misfortunes • Sarah Tytler

... had not brought him this accomplishment, and in his clumsiness of speech and manner he envied this sprightly youth who had become so much of a celebrity in his thoughts that he actually took a certain pleasure in walking past the Bent residence just because it was where Roscoe ...
— Tom Slade with the Colors • Percy K. Fitzhugh

... life, even in her own country, she had no landmarks or finger-posts, of any kind, in this new land. Her sentiment had never been narrowly British, but now she realized her nationality over-keenly; she felt herself almost grotesquely English, and had a sense of insular clumsiness amidst a uprightly, dexterous people. Conscious of a thousand illusive, but very real differences in point of view, and in nature, between the two nations, she had a baffled impression of walking among mysteries and novelties ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... institution, he stumbled badly on the threshold by enlarging on the great privilege he was enjoying in speaking to the students of Cornell, proceeding blandly under the conviction that he was at Ithaca instead of under the elms of New Haven. But this clumsiness in Freeman and in others was only a surface blemish. He was a great writer treating with profound learning the story of Greece and Rome and South-western Europe in general, and illuminating as probably no other man has done the distant Saxon and early Norman dimnesses that lie in the background ...
— The Last Leaf - Observations, during Seventy-Five Years, of Men and Events in America - and Europe • James Kendall Hosmer

... and it was therefore considered dangerous to quarrel with him. Stephenson was so unfortunate as not to be able to please this pitman by the way in which he drew him out of the pit; and Nelson swore at him grossly because of the alleged clumsiness of his brakeing. George defended himself, and appealed to the testimony of the other workmen. But Nelson had not been accustomed to George's style of self-assertion; and, after a great deal of abuse, he threatened ...
— Lives of the Engineers - The Locomotive. George and Robert Stephenson • Samuel Smiles

... 'changing' is as familiar as may be; 'foam that passed away', strictly literal; and the whole line descriptive of the reality with a degree of accuracy which I know not any other verse, in the range of poetry, that altogether equals. For most people have not a distinct idea of the clumsiness and massiveness of a large wave. The word 'wave' is used too generally of ripples and breakers, and bendings in light drapery or grass: it does not by itself convey a perfect image. But the word 'mound' is heavy, large, dark, definite; there is no mistaking the kind of wave ...
— English Critical Essays - Nineteenth Century • Various

... you like it, Mrs. Macallister," said Mr. Willett, with the clumsiness of American middle-age when summoned to say something gallant. "If I'd told you what a surprise I had for you, ...
— A Modern Instance • William Dean Howells

... not let me detain you. But, unless you have other plans, I beg you will come to dinner to-day at the Villa Planat. My nephew, the Comte de Fontaine, is a man it is essential that you should know. Ah, ha! And I propose to make up to you for my clumsiness by introducing you to five of the prettiest women in Paris. So, so, young man, your brow is clearing! I am fond of young people, and I like to see them happy. Their happiness reminds me of the good times of my youth, when adventures were not ...
— The Ball at Sceaux • Honore de Balzac

... for?" he cried, now sufficiently recovered for thought and speech, wringing his hand with pain, and then popping his finger hastily into his mouth to ease it. "You are a clumsy thing. And you want to destroy me, too, with your foolish clumsiness." ...
— The Great Taboo • Grant Allen

... rank; for his carriage was bold and somewhat supercilious, his step easy and free, his manner daring and unconstrained. His stature was of the middle size, or rather above it, his limbs well-proportioned, yet not so strong as to infer the reproach of clumsiness. His features were uncommonly handsome, and all about him would have been interesting and prepossessing but for that indescribable expression which habitual dissipation gives to the countenance, joined with a certain audacity in look and manner, of that kind which is often assumed as a mask ...
— The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... be told, few words will suffice. If the word fisherman be derived from fishing, and not from fish, we had a great many such fishermen at Vichy; who, though they could neither scour a worm, nor splice the rod that their clumsiness had broken, nor dub a fly, nor land a fish of a pound weight, if any such had had the mind to try them, were vain enough to beset the banks of the Allier at a very early hour in the morning. As ...
— Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846 • Various

... not owned that puppy long enough to feel like leaving him at home, so the little lump of funny black curls and clumsiness had to go to town ...
— Harper's Young People, June 22, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly • Various

... Samoylenko made on every newcomer the unpleasant impression of a gruff bully; but two or three days after making his acquaintance, one began to think his face extraordinarily good-natured, kind, and even handsome. In spite of his clumsiness and rough manner, he was a peaceable man, of infinite kindliness and goodness of heart, always ready to be of use. He was on familiar terms with every one in the town, lent every one money, doctored every ...
— The Duel and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... Correspondence passed between her and Sir John Thynne on the subject of the craftsmen employed by both, and there seems no doubt that Longleat and Hardwick were the work of the same men. The inlays upon the long table are particularly fine, and except for a certain clumsiness almost recall the glories of the great period of Italian marquetry. The cradle of James I. (1566) ...
— Intarsia and Marquetry • F. Hamilton Jackson

... ones—whatever rank of life might exhibit them, acted as a sure passport to Miss Verity's gentle heart. And the youth and good looks of the man approaching her became momentarily more incontestable. His bearing, too, notwithstanding the clumsiness of his shiny black over-garment, had a slightly ruffling, gallantly insolent air to it, eminently calculated to impress her ...
— Deadham Hard • Lucas Malet

... had been watching the fires they had lighted, knew rightly how the man had thus been hurled on them, and were abusing him for clumsiness, he had his sword out, swearing to end me; and I suppose he might have done so without any of the others interfering had they understood the matter. But he was a heavy man, and mailed moreover; whereby three ...
— A King's Comrade - A Story of Old Hereford • Charles Whistler

... of Gretchen's mother, old Barbara; she does not complain of the goitre; though she has to bear it under her chin, she tries to keep it out of sight. I wish you would do the same with your clumsiness. There, go and change your clothes, go, you unlucky ...
— The Empire Annual for Girls, 1911 • Various

... his head bent under her words, bent in cowardly evasion of her sharp glance, the sidelong shiftings of his eyes portraying him, the generous liar, brought at last to bay by his own honest clumsiness. Then, as her appeal grew warmer, tenderer, more insistent, the fine head was suddenly erected and proud confession was written plainly over the glowing face—that beautiful contrition of one who has willed to bear a ...
— The Seeker • Harry Leon Wilson

... well known to render a description unnecessary here. In common with most spectators of this very ingeniously and philosophically designed appliance, Mr. Grimston was struck with its bulk and the superficial clumsiness of the arrangement whereby the air and gas supply are heated in it by the products of combustion. These lamps have, of course, materially improved of late; but when Mr. Grimston first saw them, perhaps 18 months ago, they certainly ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 362, December 9, 1882 • Various

... car to car with apelike clumsiness—and surety. Two cars back. It was not so easy to reach the sliding side door of that empty car. Considering the fact that it was night, that the train was bucking furiously over the old roadbed, Lefty had a not altogether simple task before him. But he managed it with ...
— Gunman's Reckoning • Max Brand

... had gone too far in thinking of such a possibility; and if Mr. Rigg had not been large-minded, as well as notoriously sober, Betsy might have lost me all the benefit of his evidence by her London-bred clumsiness with him. For it takes quite a different handling, and a different mode of outset, to get on with the London working class and the laboring kind of the country; or at least it ...
— Erema - My Father's Sin • R. D. Blackmore

... accept from B the commodity which he could in turn deliver to C, while C in exchange for B's product gave to A what D had produced and bartered to C. The mere statement of such a transaction sufficiently presents its clumsiness, and the use of primitive forms of coin soon simplified the original process of bare barter. It is reasonable to suppose that as soon as the introduction of currency marked the abandonment of direct ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... if Vanna had not held me with a firm restraining hand. Looking up in adoring love to the dark face was a ring of woodland creatures. I thought I could distinguish the white clouded robe of a snow-leopard, the soft clumsiness of a young bear, and many more, but these shifted and blurred like dream creatures—I could not be sure of them nor define their numbers. The eyes of the Player looked down upon their passionate delight with ...
— The Ninth Vibration And Other Stories • L. Adams Beck

... it came near to being too much. A man bumped me, as I was getting on the car, and drove me against the iron dasher. It was all an accident, due to the man's clumsiness. But it barked my ...
— The High School Captain of the Team - Dick & Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard • H. Irving Hancock

... woollen wadding and drawn tight between the rolls with strong cords. They formed a deafening and heating head-covering which always had to be loosened and thrust back when the wearer was within doors. It was only equalled in shapeless clumsiness and unique ugliness by its summer-sister of the same date, the green silk calash,—that funniest and quaintest of all New England feminine headgear,—a great sunshade that could not be called a bonnet, always made of bright green silk shirred on strong ...
— Sabbath in Puritan New England • Alice Morse Earle

... was no lack of zeal on his part, but if anything had depended upon coolness and skill, we might both have been drowned. I kept a firm hold upon my helpless charge, and managed to keep her head above the water, though my own was dragged under several times by the clumsiness of my ...
— Down The River - Buck Bradford and His Tyrants • Oliver Optic

... herself slowly, and with a certain clumsiness, took her little shopping bag and bought, with economy and taste, a very fair outfit of simple clothing for the seventy dollars she had gained on the strength of the peddler of embroideries; she passed the peddler's very shop on her way. Underwear, ...
— The Strange Cases of Dr. Stanchon • Josephine Daskam Bacon

... and had breath enough to hang on to the note so long that the audience (always composed of invited guests) writhed obviously, Tommy would sometimes drop a sheet of music on the floor and create a diversion, always apologizing profusely for her clumsiness. The third patron was a young baritone, who liked Miss Tucker's appearance on the platform and had her whenever he didn't sing Schubert's "Erl Koenig," which Tommy couldn't play. This was her most profitable engagement, ...
— Ladies-In-Waiting • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... inn window, and paying no heed to what I saw; only I remember that my eye lighted on Captain Hoseason down on the pier among his seamen, and speaking with some authority. And presently he came marching back towards the house, with no mark of a sailor's clumsiness, but carrying his fine, tall figure with a manly bearing, and still with the same sober, grave expression on his face. I wondered if it was possible that Ransome's stories could be true, and half disbelieved them; they fitted so ill with the man's looks. But indeed, he was neither ...
— Kidnapped • Robert Louis Stevenson

... caused her a sharp pang, but after a passing movement of irritation at the clumsiness of fate, and at her own carelessness in not denying the door to all but Selden, she controlled herself and greeted Rosedale amicably. It was annoying that Selden, when he came, should find that particular visitor in possession, but Lily was mistress of the ...
— House of Mirth • Edith Wharton

... clumsiness of her wooden fingers, the woman of the south was a poor needlewoman, but was a fine dancer. The woman of the north was very expert in needlework, but her wooden legs made her a poor dancer. Each of these women gave these traits to her daughters, so that to the present ...
— A Treasury of Eskimo Tales • Clara Kern Bayliss

... short, that a poem by Bragdon, while it might easily show the poet's fancy, could not fail to show also the produce-broker's clumsiness of touch. His charm was the spontaneity of his spoken words, his enthusiastic personality disarming all criticism; what the labored productions of his fancy might prove to be, I hardly dared think. It was this dread ...
— The Water Ghost and Others • John Kendrick Bangs

... himself, knew that life or death hung upon the issue of the next ten minutes. Upon Street alone devolved the life of the little girl. A second's hesitation at the wrong stage of the operation, a slip of bistoury or scalpel, a tremor of the wrist, a single instant's clumsiness of the fingers, and the Enemy—watching for every chance, intent for every momentarily opened chink or cranny wherein he could thrust his lean fingers—entered the frail tenement with a leap, a rushing, headlong spring that jarred the house of life to its foundations. ...
— A Man's Woman • Frank Norris

... without a word—coachmakers, jewelers, tailors, and all. If any attempt is made to interfere with them, the servants reply with impudent retorts, or revenge themselves by the costly blunders of assumed clumsiness; and in these days they inquire into their master's character as, formerly, the master inquired into theirs. This mischief is now really at its height, and the law-courts are beginning to take cognizance of it; but in vain, for it cannot be ...
— Poor Relations • Honore de Balzac

... instant. He is not bound to one setting, he has no technical difficulty in altering the whole scene with every smile and every frown. To be sure, the theater can give us changing sunshine and thunderclouds too. But it must go on at the slow pace and with the clumsiness with which the events in nature pass. The photoplay can flit from one to the other. Not more than one sixteenth of a second is needed to carry us from one corner of the globe to the other, from a jubilant setting to a mourning scene. The whole keyboard of the imagination ...
— The Photoplay - A Psychological Study • Hugo Muensterberg

... Wainsby likewise attempt a rallying-cry; but Stephen's retort, "Ain't foxes flesh and blood?" convicted him of clumsiness, and, buoyed on the uproar of cheers, Stephen pursued, "They are; to kill 'em in cold blood's beast-murder, so it is. What do we do? We give 'em a fair field—a fair field and no favour! We let 'em trust to the instincts Nature, ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... frequently to be seen in all self-coloured breeds. SIZE AND SYMMETRY—The most desirable weight in show condition is, for a dog 24 lb., and for a bitch 22 lb. The dog must present an active, lively, lithe, and wiry appearance; lots of substance, at the same time free of clumsiness, as speed and endurance, as well as power, are very essential. They must be neither cloddy or cobby, but should be framed on the lines of speed, showing a graceful racing outline. TEMPERAMENT—Dogs that are very game are usually surly or snappish. The Irish ...
— Dogs and All About Them • Robert Leighton

... marriage no more than the acquisition of the lands of La Vauvraye, and she may even have thought that he himself saw no more. In that she was wrong; but because of it she may have been justified of her impatience with him at the tardiness, the very clumsiness with which he urged his suit. How was she to know that it was just the sincerity of his passion made him clumsy? For like many another, normally glib, self-assured, and graceful, Marius grew halting, shy, and clumsy ...
— St. Martin's Summer • Rafael Sabatini

... and strolled round the fountain, his cane behind his back, his chin in his collar. He had made the circle several times, then he blundered into some one. The fighting mood was gone now, the walk having calmed him. He murmured a short apology for his clumsiness and started on, without even ...
— The Goose Girl • Harold MacGrath

... laces bear distinct likeness to the fine Flemish lace, only the clumsiness of the design or the coarse workmanship differentiating them. It has, however, one special feature which gave it the name "Trolly lace," as, unlike the perfectly flat lace of Flanders, it has a coarse thread or "trolly" outlining its patterns, and being made of English ...
— Chats on Old Lace and Needlework • Emily Leigh Lowes

... scramble to get their holyday dresses out of the guard-house, which, when put on, had more the appearance of being intended for the stage than the field of battle. Their quilted petticoats, sattin boots, and their fans, had a mixture of clumsiness and effeminacy that ill accorded with the ...
— Travels in China, Containing Descriptions, Observations, and Comparisons, Made and Collected in the Course of a Short Residence at the Imperial Palace of Yuen-Min-Yuen, and on a Subsequent Journey thr • John Barrow

... than these obstacles based on fallacious reasoning or superstitious whim were those that were furnished by the clumsiness of the ships and the crudeness of the appliances for navigation. As already observed, the Spanish and Portuguese caravels of the fifteenth century were less swift and manageable craft than the Norwegian "dragons" of the tenth. Mere yachts in size we should call them, but far from yachtlike ...
— The Discovery of America Vol. 1 (of 2) - with some account of Ancient America and the Spanish Conquest • John Fiske

... find how wonderfully the puppets followed the leading-strings; in spite of his clumsiness the story ...
— The Field of Clover • Laurence Housman

... you ever see such idiotic clumsiness!" he ejaculated. And then, in deepest contrition: "I won't attempt to apologize—it's beyond all that. But you must let me make ...
— Empire Builders • Francis Lynde

... of the clubhouse boats, was rowing with drunken clumsiness toward the head of the Elbow ...
— The Re-Creation of Brian Kent • Harold Bell Wright

... the swift and complex movements of these contrivances and the inert panting clumsiness of their masters was acute, and for days I had to tell myself repeatedly that these latter were indeed the living ...
— The War of the Worlds • H. G. Wells

... For a while it may be that the caution of the poor Levantine may enable him to avoid contact, but sooner or later, perhaps, the dreaded chance arrives; that bundle of linen, with the dark tearful eyes at the top of it, that labors along with the voluptuous clumsiness of Grisi —she has touched the poor Levantine with the hem of her sleeve! From that dread moment his peace is gone; his mind for ever hanging upon the fatal touch invites the blow which he fears; he watches for the symptoms of plague so carefully, that sooner or later they ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... the least graceful designs of the series; though the clumsiness in the contours of the leading figures is indeed a fault which often occurs in the painter's best works, but it is here unredeemed by the rest of the composition. The group of the suitors, however, represented as waiting at the outside ...
— Giotto and his works in Padua • John Ruskin

... been said that a few pebbles from a brook in the sling of a David who knows how to send them to the mark are more effective than a Goliath's spear and a Goliath's strength with a Goliath's clumsiness. ...
— Pushing to the Front • Orison Swett Marden

... all clumsiness and fat legs and arms, did a good deal of hugging and squealing, and Miss Shake, Leonard's old governess, wept discreetly ...
— Four Days - The Story of a War Marriage • Hetty Hemenway

... all tasks had been set him from the beginning—to keep his wife's love! If she had slipped away from him, to the injury and moral lessening of both, on his cowardice, on his clumsiness, be the blame! Above all, on his fatal power of absorbing himself in a hundred outside interests, controversy, literature, society. Even his work seemed to have lost half its sacredness. If there be a canker at the root, no matter how large the show of leaf and blossom ...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... silence seemed to him the most vivid commentary on the clumsiness of speech as a means of intercourse, and his eyes had turned to her in renewed appreciation of this finer faculty when Mrs. Armiger's voice abruptly brought home to him the ...
— The Touchstone • Edith Wharton

... "Yes, Death—with whom I have sworn friendship, and who should be ten times blessed to me if he would but atone for my clumsiness and rid the world of such ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... every man is his own barber and surgeon, cutting off his beard or arm, as occasion demands. No unusual thing, for the warriors of Varvoo to saw off their own limbs, desperately wounded in battle. But owing to the clumsiness of the instrument employed—a flinty, serrated shell—the operation has been known to last several days. Nor will they suffer any friend to help them; maintaining, that a matter so nearly concerning a warrior is far better attended to by himself. Hence it ...
— Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. I (of 2) • Herman Melville

... most brilliant road, out of the bondage of the humdrum and common, into the better life. The universal dead-level of plainness and homeliness, the lack of all beauty and distinction in form and feature, the slowness and clumsiness of the language, the eternal beer, sausages, and bad tobacco, the blank commonness everywhere, pressing at last like a weight on the spirits of the traveller in Northern Germany, and making him impatient ...
— Celtic Literature • Matthew Arnold

... look too good," Winfree panted. "Cover yourself—I might hurt you out of sheer clumsiness." His chin and throat were covered with blood, now; blood enough to satisfy the most indignant consumer. The moment the measure was set again, Winfree lunged, trying to slip his blade beneath MacHenery's guard to strike his arm. His foible met the flash of the other man's forte, and ...
— The Great Potlatch Riots • Allen Kim Lang

... future are far more complete than yours could have been in regard to me,' Hugo answered smoothly. 'You betrayed some clumsiness. I shall profit by your mistakes. No one will see you go into the Safe Deposit except myself and a man whom I can trust. No one at all except myself will see you go into the vault. I can manage the operation alone. A little chloroform will ...
— Hugo - A Fantasia on Modern Themes • Arnold Bennett

... the wind has changed! Your Dulcinea flies with you o' Wednesday, and has ne'er a glance for you o' Saturday! I' faith! ye deserve no better. Art a clumsy gallant to have been overtaken, and the maid's in the right on't to resent your clumsiness." ...
— The Lion's Skin • Rafael Sabatini

... front windows of the house one saw across Hampstead Heath towards London, and from the back windows one saw across the Heath towards Harrow. The house, in spite of its slight decrepitude and the clumsiness of its construction—the stairs were obviously an afterthought of the architect—had that air of comfortable kindliness which is only to be seen in houses which have been occupied by several generations of human beings. Mr. Haverstock was ...
— The Foolish Lovers • St. John G. Ervine

... and in the evening read novels by lamp-light. What a jest it would be to mock her, to make her stare at country work, to spoil her precious hands in the skin-roughening house-keeping work, and to laugh at her clumsiness. ...
— Debts of Honor • Maurus Jokai

... saved them a hog and the thieves will revenge themselves on us; and here they come and accuse me of being a thief myself.' Fritz Hamer swore at the farm-hand for his clumsiness and tried to pacify the peasant, but he turned his back on him. Fritz had lost his zeal for pursuing the thieves, took up his hog and ...
— Selected Polish Tales • Various

... clumsiness, Bright and Broad did many a day's hard work in an honest fashion for Farmer Green. Of course he never drove them to the village when he was in a hurry. But whenever there was a heavy load to pull he depended on Bright and Broad to help him. If the pair of bays ...
— The Tale of Pony Twinkleheels • Arthur Scott Bailey

... Petulengro, who directed him to Mumber Lane (Mumper's Dingle), near Willenhall, in Staffordshire, "the little dingle by the side of the great north road." Here Borrow encamped and shod little Ambrol, who kicked him over as a reminder of his clumsiness. ...
— The Life of George Borrow • Herbert Jenkins

... attempts to be brilliant? That's a joy," he went on, "if it's not drawn out by the mere clumsiness of my flattery." She had turned away from him, kindly enough, as if time for his talk in the air were always to be allowed him: she took in vaguely Vanderbank's books and prints. "Why didn't your mother ...
— The Awkward Age • Henry James

... schoolboy desks at Harrow and Eton worn to the smoothness of these tables here and carved as deeply with names. There was not a vestige of a cloth or napkins. The plates and knives and forks were rude enough to bear out the surroundings. In fact, the clumsiness and apparent age of everything almost transported us, in imagination, to the stone age, but the ...
— Abroad with the Jimmies • Lilian Bell

... if not ridiculed by our young men, is likely to be imitated by them. Nor should our citizens be given to excess of laughter—'Such violent delights' are followed by a violent re-action. The description in the Iliad of the gods shaking their sides at the clumsiness of Hephaestus will not be admitted by us. ...
— The Republic • Plato

... it would have been impossible to find! But she went about clumsily, and had nearly fallen down, stumbling first with this, and then with that. The host scolded her vehemently on account of her clumsiness, and scolded the waiter also till he made them both cry, at least so it seemed; whereupon he chased them both out with the order to return instantly with refreshments. The host, now again in brilliant, excellent, ...
— The Home • Fredrika Bremer

... joy in having your eyes hammered at by a blunted sharp instrument, like a herring-gull's beak, for instance, even if those eyes happen to be shut, as I think the skua's were, and the instrument wielded with the extreme clumsiness of the half-trained, as I know the herring-gull's beak was. But, all the same, it was the kindest thing that could have happened, for, had it not been for that, the skua was like to have drifted in that fashion from that little inlet out upon another sea; ...
— The Way of the Wild • F. St. Mars

... of the early autumn wind, the otter-cubs fished, and frolicked, and slept, or were suckled by their dam. Sometimes the whole family, together with the old dog-otter, adjourned to the middle of the meadow, and in the tall, dew-drenched grass skipped like kittens, though with comical clumsiness rather than with the agility they displayed in the water. Like kittens, too, the cubs played with their mother, in spite of wholesome chastisement when they nipped her muzzle rather more severely than even long-suffering patience could allow. The dam was at all times loath to correct her offspring, ...
— Creatures of the Night - A Book of Wild Life in Western Britain • Alfred W. Rees

... very taking, charming manner. That goes a much longer way in Persia than the other unfortunate manner by which many of our officials think to show dignity—sheer stiffness, rudeness, bluntness, clumsiness—which offends, offends ...
— Across Coveted Lands - or a Journey from Flushing (Holland) to Calcutta Overland • Arnold Henry Savage Landor

... he was careful that nothing should get out of order. Hair and moustache were his own, dyed and brushed cunningly. Yet, when he reeled against Green near the Albany, the inspector, who was an observant man, pushed him roughly aside with an anathema on his clumsiness. ...
— The Grell Mystery • Frank Froest

... governments, in all these changes, are seen working smoothly, we have next to observe, by contrast, the clumsiness and inefficiency of the federal ...
— The Critical Period of American History • John Fiske

... topmost step, seated himself lower down, one arm passed behind her, his left hand covering hers that lay folded in her lap. Quita, looking down upon it in a flutter of happiness, noted and approved it as an epitome of the man; large, without clumsiness, ...
— The Great Amulet • Maud Diver

... on the dainty hem there appeared three distinct crimson stains. Mr. Rickman's face was crimson, too, with a flush of agony. Whatever he did for her his clumsiness ...
— The Divine Fire • May Sinclair

... slashes. When she had untied the string which fastened the cloth, she poured some of the beans upon the table and ordered me to shell them quickly and carefully. I obey her mandate and with careful fingers separate the beans from the filthy pods which contain them; but she, accusing my clumsiness, hastily snatched them and, skillfully tearing off the pods with her teeth, spat them upon the ground, where they looked like dead flies. I wondered, then, at the ingenuity of poverty and its expedients for emergency. (So ardent a follower of this virtue did the priestess seem that it was reflected ...
— The Satyricon, Complete • Petronius Arbiter

... of slowness and stolidity, was not perhaps a fool, notwithstanding his outward clumsiness. A little attention is appreciated even by a matron ...
— Amaryllis at the Fair • Richard Jefferies

... and his impressibility: he saw the first trace of doubt or alarm in the face of a subaltern to whom he was giving an order; the first touch of sluggishness in a re-forming line; the more significant clumsiness of a living evolution that he knew was clogged by the dead bodies of comrades; the ominous silence of a breastwork; the awful inertia of some rigidly kneeling files beyond, which still kept their form but never would move again; the melting away of skirmish points; the sudden gaps here ...
— Clarence • Bret Harte

... efforts were not marked with the clumsiness of mediocrity. What characterized them was the clumsiness of too great strength—the clumsiness which the tyro betrays when he crushes butterflies with battering rams and hammers out vignettes with a war-club. ...
— Martin Eden • Jack London

... face with a bewilderment which was not without its humorous side. He was too much a man of the world, this great picture producer, to be at a loss for words, to receive an introduction with any degree of clumsiness. ...
— The Cinema Murder • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... four masts seemed to have flowered into all the sails possible, yet the sailors beneath us, under Mr. Mellaire's direction, were setting triangular sails, like jibs, between the masts, and there were so many that they overlapped one another. The slowness and clumsiness with which the men handled these small ...
— The Mutiny of the Elsinore • Jack London

... leaves. The colossal breadth and weight of their hinder quarters, which can hardly be imagined without having been seen, become, on this view, of obvious service, instead of being an encumbrance: their apparent clumsiness disappears. With their great tails and their huge heels firmly fixed like a tripod on the ground, they could freely exert the full force of their most powerful arms and great claws. Strongly rooted, indeed, must that tree have been, which could have resisted ...
— A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World - The Voyage Of The Beagle • Charles Darwin

... clumsiness Peter groped in the dark hall for his hat, then, as quietly as he could, let himself out at the door. Outside he was surprised to find that daylight still lingered in the sky. He thought night had fallen. The sun lay behind the Big Hill, but its red rays pouring down through the boles ...
— Birthright - A Novel • T.S. Stribling

... get out and fool round it. I saw him fix a longing eye on the landing-stage as we drew near it, so I managed, by an adroit movement, to jerk his cap into the water, and in the excitement of recovering that, and his indignation at my clumsiness, he forgot all ...
— Three Men in a Boa • Jerome K. Jerome

... strength and activity, I think he must always have had a clumsiness of movement. He was naturally awkward with his hands, and was unable to draw at all well. (The figure representing the aggregated cell- contents in 'Insectivorous Plants' was drawn by him.) This he always regretted much, and he frequently urged the paramount necessity ...
— The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I • Francis Darwin

... Once I caught him throwing half his dinner to a wretched little lad who had just come to the factory, and worked near him; and once again, as I was leaving the building on a rainy night, I came upon him on the stone steps at the door bending down with an almost pathetic clumsiness to pin the woolen shawl of a poor little mite, who, like so many others, worked with her shiftless father and mother to add to their weekly earnings. It was always the poorest and least cared for of the children whom he seemed to befriend, and very often ...
— "Surly Tim" - A Lancashire Story • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... party political journalism so bad? It is worse even than it intends to be. It praises its preposterous party leaders through thick and thin; but it somehow succeeds in making them look greater fools than they are. This clumsiness clings even to the photographs of public men, as they are snapshotted at public meetings. A sensitive politician (if there is such a thing) would, I should think, want to murder the man who snapshots him at those moments. ...
— Utopia of Usurers and other Essays • G. K. Chesterton

... spring the topgallant yard, if, indeed, it did not whip the topgallant-mast out of the ship. Then something fouled aloft, rendering it impossible to take in the sail; and, the skipper being on deck and manifesting some impatience at what he conceived to be the clumsiness of the men who had gone up on the topsail yard, Mr Moore, the second mate, sprang into the main rigging and went aloft to lend a hand. Just precisely what happened nobody ever knew; one of the men aloft said that the ...
— Overdue - The Story of a Missing Ship • Harry Collingwood

... (half-long vowel followed by labial consonant), should contrast with a lightly tripping syllable immediately following. In whom did, however, we have an involuntary retardation that makes the locution sound "clumsy." This clumsiness is a phonetic verdict, quite apart from the dissatisfaction due to the grammatical factors which we have analyzed. The same prosodic objection does not apply to such parallel locutions as what did and when did. ...
— Language - An Introduction to the Study of Speech • Edward Sapir

... became aware of his master's intention, kicked, and sprang aside. The man sought to quiet him, patted his neck, and once more tried the difficult task of getting on his back; but the sight of the approaching strangers now added to his clumsiness, and rendered him even more helpless than before. He had scarcely put his foot in the stirrup, when the animal pranced, kicked and reared, jerking the reins from his owner's hands, and throwing him down on the pavement; after which he started at full speed down the street, ...
— Sister Carmen • M. Corvus

... to make herself useful. She lacked experience in a house like ours, but her willingness and cheerfulness more than made up for the clumsiness of her hands as she would say to Teresa, "Let me do that, dear Teresa; you are so tired, and you have so much work now." Teresa, accustomed as she was to perform everything herself, hesitated a little at first; but Paula would look at her in such a beseeching way that ...
— Paula the Waldensian • Eva Lecomte



Words linked to "Clumsiness" :   slowness, unskillfulness, gaucherie, woodenness, gracefulness, ungracefulness, inelegance, gawkiness, carriage, posture, rustiness, rusticity, ungainliness, ineptness, clumsy, awkwardness, bearing



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