Roget's Thesaurus: Entry 699 (Unskillfulness)

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#699. Unskillfulness. -- N. unskillfulness &c. adj.; want of skill &c. 698; incompetence, incompentency[obs]; inability, infelicity, indexterity[obs], inexperience; disqualification, unproficiency[obs]; quackery.

folly, stupidity &c. 499; indiscretion &c. (rashness) 863; thoughtlessness &c. (inattention) 458 (neglect) 460; sabotage.

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

absence of rule, rule of thumb; bungling &c. v.; failure &c. 732; screw loose: too many cooks.

blunder &c. (mistake) 495; etourderie gaucherie[Fr], act of folly, balourdise[obs]; botch, botchery[obs]; bad job, sad work.

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

bungler &c. 701; fool &c. 501.

V. be unskillful &c. adj.; not see an inch beyond one's nose; blunder, bungle, boggle, fumble, botch, bitch, flounder, stumble, trip; hobble &c. 275; 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 control, lose control of oneself, lose one's head, lose one's cunning.

begin at the wrong end; do things by halves &c. (not complete) 730; make two bites of a cherry; play at cross purposes; strain at a gnat and swallow a camel &c. (caprice) 608; put the cart before the horse; lock the stable door when the horse is stolen &c. (too late) 135.

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) 863, have too many irons in the fire.

mistake &c. 495; take the shadow for the substance &c. (credulity) 486; 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 &c. (useless) 645; 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 &c. 732.

Adj. unskillful &c. 698; inexpert; bungling &c.v.; awkward, clumsy, unhandy, lubberly, gauche, maladroit; left-handed, heavy-handed; slovenly, slatternly; gawky.

adrift, at fault.

inapt, unapt; inhabile[Fr]; untractable[obs], unteachable; giddy &c. (inattentive) 458; inconsiderate &c. (neglectful) 460; stupid &c. 499; inactive &c. 683; incompetent; unqualified, disqualified, ill-qualified; unfit; quackish; raw, green, inexperienced, rusty, out of practice.

unaccustomed, unused, untrained &c. 537, uninitiated, unconversant &c. (ignorant) 491[obs]; 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 &c. (inconsistent) 608.

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