- to impede or hinder; hamper; retard: Red tape encumbers all our attempts at action.
- to block up or fill with what is obstructive or superfluous: a mind encumbered with trivial and useless information.
- to burden or weigh down: She was encumbered with a suitcase and several packages.
- to burden with obligations, debt, etc.
Origin of encumber
Related Wordsoverburden, obstruct, load, cramp, clog, weight, tax, hamper, overload, charge, lade, handicap, inconvenience, incommode, embarrass, hog-tie, retard, saddle, trammel, discommode
Examples from the Web for encumber
It should not encumber the banking system we need with failed institutions.The Geithner Plan Won't Work
James K. Galbraith
March 24, 2009
She can not encumber or dispose of her separate estate without his joinder.
You are taking the pieces of our ship along—we do not want to encumber you.Spacehounds of IPC
Edward Elmer Smith
There are too many of the kind already to encumber our shelves and our catalogues.The Ship of Fools, Volume 1
Here is an enemy in full retreat, would they encumber themselves with the colonel?White Lies
At first we should not encumber our pupils with accurate demonstration.Practical Education, Volume II
- to hinder or impede; make difficult; hamperencumbered with parcels after going shopping at Christmas; his stupidity encumbers his efforts to learn
- to fill with superfluous or useless matter
- to burden with debts, obligations, etc
Word Origin and History for encumber
early 14c., "burden, vex, inconvenience," from Old French encombrer "to block up, hinder, thwart," from Late Latin incombrare, from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + combrus "barricade, obstacle," probably from Latin cumulus "heap." Meaning "hinder, hamper" is attested in English from late 14c. Related: Encumbered; encumbering.