On the Origin of Clumsy


There are a few things that I know frustrate my wife:

  • When the kids refuse to go to sleep.
  • When the dog barks for no reason.
  • When she drops things and they break.

That last one predates the kids and the dog, and whenever it happens, she asks “Why do I have to be so clumsy?”

“Mistakes happen,” I say. “You aren’t clumsy.”

“Stop trying to make me feel better,” she says. “You aren’t the one who just shattered a glass on the floor.”

“Fair enough,” I say.

Anyway, “clumsy” is a pretty interesting word, and I was curious about its origin. So I looked it up.

According to here, it dates back to late 1500’s Middle-English as another form of “clumsid”, or “acting as if benumbed/numb with cold”.

This is a great word because that’s exactly what it is like to be clumsy. When your hands are so cold that you can’t hold on to something, or when your foot is asleep and you try to walk on it anyway, you are literally being clumsy.

So the next time my wife accidentally drops something, I’m going to take her hands (which are always freezing cold) and hold them in mine until the clumsiness passes. Also, I just really like holding her hands. She’s super awesome.


2 thoughts on “On the Origin of Clumsy

  1. Love this. Our conversation is more like this: “Aarrgghh, I dropped another….” To which I hear “no big deal, … Is replaceable, are you hurt?” “No just hate that I’m clumsy.” “No, you’re just not ‘body smart’.” Which is true as I often attempt to walk through furniture corners and walls.

  2. Pingback: Hope for Clumsy Clods | Find Me A Cure

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