adjective Etymology: obsolete gain direct, from Middle English gayn, geyn, from Old English gēn, from Old Norse gegn, from gegn, preposition, against; akin to Old English gēan- against — more at again Date: 1611 1. a. lacking in smoothness or dexterity ; clumsy <
ungainly movements
b. hard to handle ; unwieldy <
an ungainly contraption
2. having an awkward appearance <
a large ungainly bird
ungainliness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ungainly — Un*gain ly, a. [OE. ungeinliche, adv., fr. ungein inconvenient; un + Icel. gegn ready, serviceable; adv., against, opposite. See {Un } not, and {Gain}, a., {Again}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Not gainly; not expert or dexterous; clumsy; awkward; uncouth; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ungainly — Un*gain ly, adv. In an ungainly manner. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ungainly — [ungān′lē] adj. [ME ungeinliche < ungein, perilous (< un , not + ON gegn, ready, serviceable, akin to OE gegn: see AGAIN) + liche, LY1] 1. awkward; clumsy 2. coarse and unattractive adv. Archaic in an ungainly manner ungainliness n …   English World dictionary

  • ungainly — index incompetent, inelegant, inept (incompetent), uncouth Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • ungainly — (adj.) 1610s, originally unfit, improper, from M.E. ungeinliche, from ungein (c.1400) inconvenient (from UN (Cf. un ) (1) not + O.N. gegn convenient ) + like …   Etymology dictionary

  • ungainly — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ clumsy; awkward. DERIVATIVES ungainliness noun. ORIGIN from obsolete gainly «graceful», from an Old Norse word meaning straight …   English terms dictionary

  • ungainly — [[t]ʌnge͟ɪnli[/t]] ADJ GRADED If you describe a person, animal, or vehicle as ungainly, you mean that they look awkward or clumsy, often because they are big. The dog, an ungainly mongrel pup, was loping about the road... Paul swam in his… …   English dictionary

  • ungainly — ungainliness, n. /un gayn lee/, adj., ungainlier, liest, adv. adj. 1. not graceful; awkward; unwieldy; clumsy: an ungainly child; an ungainly prose style. adv. 2. in an awkward manner. [1150 1200; (adv.) ME ungeinliche, equiv. to un UN 1 + later… …   Universalium

  • ungainly — adj. Ungainly is used with these nouns: ↑walk …   Collocations dictionary

  • ungainly — un|gain|ly [ʌnˈgeınli] adj [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: gainly proper, graceful, pleasing (14 20 centuries), from gain direct, kind, useful (10 19 centuries), from Old Norse gegn] moving in a way that does not look graceful ▪ a tall ungainly… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”