- something that encumbers; something burdensome, useless, or superfluous; burden; hindrance: Poverty was a lifelong encumbrance.
- a dependent person, especially a child.
- Law. a burden or claim on property, as a mortgage.
Origin of encumbrance
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for encumbrance
In LA, Don is an outsider; a Madison Avenue interloper; an encumbrance.What's Happened to Don Draper? Why Everyone’s Favorite ‘Mad Men’ Stud Needs His Mojo Back
April 16, 2014
To Mrs. Beaufort a rival, to Mr. Beaufort an encumbrance on the property.Night and Morning, Complete
The line between an encumbrance and a purpose is not very clearly defined, is it?Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
The safest plan is to ascend them without too heavy an encumbrance of theories.Mountain Meditations
I will take upon myself the convincing of the encumbrance to that effect.Cap'n Warren's Wards
Joseph C. Lincoln
They are often an embarrassment and an encumbrance to it rather than a help.English Past and Present
Richard Chevenix Trench
- a thing that impedes or is burdensome; hindrance
- law a burden or charge upon property, such as a mortgage or lien
- rare a dependent person, esp a child
Word Origin and History for encumbrance
early 14c., from Old French encombrance, from encombrer (see encumber).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper