mid-14c. (adv.), "in the wrong direction," from awk "back-handed" + adverbial suffix -weard (see -ward). The original sense is obsolete. As an adjective, "turned the wrong way," 1510s. The meaning "clumsy, wanting ease and grace in movement" is recorded by 1520s. Of persons, "embarrassed, ill-at-ease," from 1713s. Related: Awkwardly. Other 15c.-17c. formations from awk, none of them surviving, were awky, awkly, awkness.
word-forming element denoting action, quality, or state, attached to an adjective or past participle to form an abstract noun, from Old English -nes(s), from Proto-Germanic *in-assu- (cognates: Old Saxon -nissi, Middle Dutch -nisse, Dutch -nis, Old High German -nissa, German -nis, Gothic -inassus), from *-in-, originally belonging to the noun stem, + *-assu-, abstract noun suffix, probably from the same root as Latin -tudo (see -tude).
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/awkwardness">Etymology of awkwardness by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of awkwardness. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/awkwardness