noun; blending and clipping
a prolonged event or situation of extreme social awkwardness
The word awkfest results from the clipping of the word ‘awkward’ to ‘awk’ and then the blending of ‘awk’ with the word ‘fest.’ The word ‘fest’ commonly combines with other morphemes such as ‘love’ and ‘gore’ to form words such as ‘love-fest’ and ‘gore-fest’ respectively. The word ‘fest’ may be being used in a sarcastic manner in the word ‘awkfest,’ as it is usually has the positive connotation of a celebratory event; awkwardness, however, is typically viewed as a negative occurrence.
Etymology : ‘Awkward’ can be parsed into two morphemes (awk + ward) with separate etymologies. ‘Awk,’ which became obsolete in the 1600s, referred to ‘back-handed’ and came from the Old Norse ‘afugr’ meaning ‘turned backward,’ which had its origin in Proto Indo-European *apo- ‘off, away.’ ‘Ward’ comes from the adverbial suffix ‘-weard.’ ‘Fest’ comes from the German ‘fest’ meaning ‘festival,’ which came from the Latin ‘festum.’
Source : ‘The party is going to be a total awkfest, because Bill is going to be there and you know that I don’t want to see him.’ (Conversation with friend, November 2008)
Last modified: 4 December 2008