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  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default cumbersome and unwieldy

    Could you explain to me the difference between these two adjective? I looked them up in the dictionary and I saw they mean the same thing (more or less).
    For example in this sentence: That furniture is too cumbersome/unwieldy. OR
    Why did you buy it? That piano is cumbersome/unwieldy.

    May they have different shades of meaning?

  2. #2
    Bennevis's Avatar
    Bennevis is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: cumbersome and unwieldy

    cumbersome deals with size, shape, and weight
    unwieldy - size, shape, weight, and complexity

    But they are very close in meaning.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: cumbersome and unwieldy

    Unwieldy has the idea of being difficult to use/manage/control, etc. For furniture, cumbersome is the one I'd use- implying it's heavy, hard to move, etc.

  4. #4
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    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: cumbersome and unwieldy

    Interestingly enough, I used both these words in casual conversation recently (only to be mocked for doing so ). A friend of mine earns extra money by cleaning houses in her spare time and will occasionally help me out with my laundry and other little details that I tend to neglect (Mr. Ouisch: "What's this thing in the refrigerator? When did you buy an avocado?" Me: "Um, it's not an avocado....it's a container of yogurt I bought a year ago and forgot about....." ) Anyway, my friend asked me to buy a box of baking soda to use for laundry and other cleaning purposes, so I purchased the traditional small box. She rolled her eyes and said "I meant a big box! This little thing won't last very long." "But the big box is so cumbersome," I complained. "Cumbersome?" she repeated. "She always talks like that," Mr. Ouisch interjected. "Well, unwieldly then. It's heavy and hard to carry and....." But their laughter drowned out the rest of my explanation. Now my friend says things like "There's one load of laundry still running in the dryer, if you don't mind carrying it upstairs when it's done. Unless, of course, it's too cumbersome!" I tell you, I get no respect in my own household!

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