Nor is it a cumber: it being no more than a small portion of rice, and a little sugar and hony.
Why should I cumber myself with regrets that the receiver is not capacious?
The sorrows, the “cumber” of which Knox was “alleged” to bear the blame, did not end with his death.
We cannot spare the time to take them now, or cumber ourselves with them when taken.
Why complicate and cumber life with relations that do but give a foothold to pain, and offer less than they threaten?
I have not wished to cumber my pages with constant quotations.
Two men abreast could not beset him, since one must cumber the movements of the other.
How much longer is that Joseph to be allowed to cumber London?
He was at all times extremely anxious not to cumber the list of pears with worthless varieties.
"They were juist a cumber and a care," continued the carrier's wife.
c.1300, "to overthrow, destroy; to be overwhelmed; to harass," apparently from French, but Old French combrer "to seize hold of, lay hands on, grab, snatch, take by force, rape," has not quite the same sense. Perhaps a shortened formation from a verb akin to Middle English acombren "obstructing progress," from Old French encombrer, from combre "obstruction, barrier," from Vulgar Latin *comboros "that which is carried together," perhaps from a Gaulish word.
The likely roots are PIE *kom (see com-) + *bher- (1) "to bear" (see infer). Weakened sense of "to hamper, to obstruct or weigh down" is late 14c. Related: Cumbered; cumbering.