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[ham-per] /ˈhæm pər/
verb (used with object)
to hold back; hinder; impede:
A steady rain hampered the progress of the work.
to interfere with; curtail:
The dancers' movements were hampered by their elaborate costumes.
Nautical. gear that, although necessary to the operations of a vessel, is sometimes in the way.
Origin of hamper1
1300-50; Middle English hampren; akin to Old English hamm enclosure, hemm hem1
Related forms
hamperedly, adverb
hamperedness, noun
hamperer, noun
unhampered, adjective
unhampering, adjective
1. obstruct, encumber, trammel, clog. See prevent.
1. further, encourage, facilitate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for unhampered
Historical Examples
  • It is the stage of unhampered egoism, of laissez-faire applied to morals.

  • In both these labors he meant to be strengthened and yet unhampered.

    The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte William Milligan Sloane
  • For the Chinese, you must not forget, were the most original and unhampered of artists.

    The Story of Porcelain Sara Ware Bassett
  • I want you to use your wits in your own way, unhampered, unencumbered.

    Skinner's Dress Suit Henry Irving Dodge
  • I have now been with her to seven physicians who were interested, and have shown them Nature's own unhampered work.

  • I must be absolutely free and unhampered, to plan and carry out what I see fit.

    A Pessimist Robert Timsol
  • A social regenerator has a better chance outside, where he is unhampered by dogma and tradition.

    Life's Little Ironies Thomas Hardy
  • He knew Harris was entitled to unhampered command, and that he had hampered.

  • Their ends could now be accomplished and their interests best furthered by unhampered political activity.

  • So, she fought no more, but left destiny to work its will unhampered by her futile strivings.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for unhampered


allowed to move or progress freely


(transitive) to prevent the progress or free movement of
(nautical) gear aboard a vessel that, though essential, is often in the way
Derived Forms
hamperedness, noun
hamperer, noun
Word Origin
C14: of obscure origin; perhaps related to Old English hamm enclosure, hemmhem1


a large basket, usually with a cover
(Brit) such a basket and its contents, usually food
(US) a laundry basket
Word Origin
C14: variant of hanaper
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unhampered

1690s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of hamper (v.).



late 14c., hampren "to surround, imprison, confine," also "to pack in a container," of unknown origin, possibly from hamper (n.1), or somehow connected to Middle English hamelian "to maim." Related: Hampered; hampering.


"large basket," early 14c., contraction of Anglo-French hanaper (Anglo-Latin hanepario), from Old French hanepier "case for holding a large goblet or cup;" in medical use "skull," also "helmet; armored leather cap," from hanap "goblet," from Frankish or some other Germanic source (cf. Old Saxon hnapp "cup, bowl;" Old High German hnapf, German Napf, Old English hnæpp). The word also meant (15c.) "the department of Chancery into which fees were paid for sealing and enrolling charters, etc." The first -a- may be a French attempt to render Germanic hn- into an acceptable Romanic form.

1835, "things important for a ship but in the way at certain times" (Klein's definition), from French hamper "to impede." Hence top hamper, originally "upper masts, spars, rigging, etc. of a sailing ship."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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