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[kuhm-ber-suh m]
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  1. burdensome; troublesome.
  2. unwieldy; clumsy.
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Origin of cumbersome

First recorded in 1325–75, cumbersome is from the Middle English word cummyrsum. See cumber, -some1
Related formscum·ber·some·ly, adverbcum·ber·some·ness, noun


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1. heavy, weighty, onerous. 2. awkward.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cumbersome


cumbrous (ˈkʌmbrəs)

  1. awkward because of size, weight, or shapecumbersome baggage
  2. difficult because of extent or complexitycumbersome accounts
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Derived Formscumbersomely or cumbrously, adverbcumbersomeness or cumbrousness, noun

Word Origin

C14: cumber, short for encumber + -some 1
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

Word Origin and History for cumbersome


late 14c., from cumber (v.) + -some (1). Meaning "unwieldy, hard to carry" is from 1590s. Related: Cumbersomely; cumbersomeness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper