- 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
Related Wordsload, duty, albatross, weight, saddle, handicap, cross, obstruction, guilt, impediment, responsibility, hindrance, millstone, debt, worry
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
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 encumbrance
early 14c., from Old French encombrance, from encombrer (see encumber).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper