2. Complex voluntary action


[Antonyms: skill.]

[Nouns] unskillfulness; want of skill [more]; incompetence, incompentency; inability, infelicity, indexterity, inexperience; disqualification, unproficiency; quackery.

folly, stupidity [more]; indiscretion (rashness) [more]; thoughtlessness (inattention) [more] (neglect) [more]; sabotage.

mismanagement, misconduct; impolicy; maladministration; misrule, misgovernment, misapplication, misdirection, misfeasance; petticoat government.

absence of rule, rule of thumb; bungling; failure [more]; screw loose: too many cooks.

blunder (mistake) [more]; etourderie gaucherie, act of folly, balourdise; botch, botchery; bad job, sad work.

sprat sent out to catch a whale, much ado about nothing, wild-goose chase.

bungler [more]; fool [more].

[Verbs] be unskillful; not see an inch beyond one's nose; blunder, bungle, boggle, fumble, botch, bitch, flounder, stumble, trip; hobble [more]; put one's foot in it; make a mess of, make hash of, make sad work of; overshoot the mark.

play tricks with, play Puck, mismanage, misconduct, misdirect, misapply, missend.

stultify oneself, make a fool of oneself, commit oneself; act foolishly; play the fool; put oneself out of court; lose one's head, lose one's cunning.

begin at the wrong end; do things by halves (not complete) [more]; make two bites of a cherry; play at cross purposes; strain at a gnat and swallow a camel (caprice) [more]; put the cart before the horse; lock the stable door when the horse is stolen (too late) [more].

not know what one is about, not know one's own interest, not know on which side one's bread is buttered; stand in one's own light, quarrel with one's bread and butter, throw a stone in one's own garden, kill the goose which lays the golden eggs, pay dear for one's whistle, cut one's own throat, bum one's fingers; knock one's head against a stone wall, beat one's head against a stone wall; fall into a trap, catch a Tartar, bring the house about one's ears; have too many eggs in one basket (imprudent) [more], have too many irons in the fire.

mistake [more]; take the shadow for the substance (credulity) [more]; bark up the wrong tree; be in the wrong box, aim at a pigeon and kill a crow; take the wrong pig by the tail, get the wrong pig by the tail, get the wrong sow by the ear, get the dirty end of the stick; put the saddle on the wrong horse, put a square peg into a round hole, put new wine into old bottles.

cut blocks with a razor; hold a farthing candle to the sun (useless) [more]; fight with a shadow, grasp at a shadow; catch at straws, lean on a broken reed, reckon without one's host, pursue a wild goose chase; go on a fool's goose chase, sleeveless errand; go further and fare worse; lose one's way, miss one's way; fail [more].

[Adjectives] unskillful; inexpert; bungling; awkward, clumsy, unhandy, lubberly, gauche, maladroit; left-handed, heavy-handed; slovenly, slatternly; gawky.

adrift, at fault.

inapt, unapt; inhabile; untractable, unteachable; giddy (inattentive) [more]; inconsiderate (neglectful) [more]; stupid [more]; inactive [more]; incompetent; unqualified, disqualified, ill-qualified; unfit; quackish; raw, green, inexperienced, rusty, out of practice.

unaccustomed, unused, untrained [more], uninitiated, unconversant (ignorant) [more]; shiftless; unstatesmanlike.

unadvised; ill-advised, misadvised; ill-devised, ill-imagined, ill-judged, ill-contrived, ill-conducted; unguided, misguided; misconducted, foolish, wild; infelicitous; penny wise and pound foolish (inconsistent) [more].

[Phrases] one's fingers being all thumbs; the right hand forgets its cunning; il se noyerait dans une goutte d'eau; incidit in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim; out of the frying pan into the fire; non omnia possumus omnes [Vergil].

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