[ en-kuhm-bruhns ]
See synonyms for: encumbranceencumbrances on Thesaurus.com

  1. something that encumbers; something burdensome, useless, or superfluous; burden; hindrance: Poverty was a lifelong encumbrance.

  2. a dependent person, especially a child.

  1. Law. a burden or claim on property, as a mortgage.

Origin of encumbrance

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English encombraunce, from Middle French encumbrance; see origin at encumber, -ance
  • Also in·cum·brance [in-kuhm-bruhns] /ɪnˈkʌm brəns/ .

Words Nearby encumbrance

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use encumbrance in a sentence

  • Dangerfield was no longer conscious of anything but an angry determination to revolt, to be free of all encumbrance.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
  • The cargo of the sloop hoisted on to the deck by the capstan, compact as he had made it, was an encumbrance.

    Toilers of the Sea | Victor Hugo
  • So desperate had been the charge that our little craft was now actually a serious encumbrance to the monster.

  • An' sell Bruno; he's a vicious brute—nothin' but an encumbrance.

    Two Little Travellers | Frances Browne Arthur
  • They set to work together to remove the irons, and his legs were at length freed from this encumbrance at about five oclock.

British Dictionary definitions for encumbrance



/ (ɪnˈkʌmbrəns) /

  1. a thing that impedes or is burdensome; hindrance

  2. law a burden or charge upon property, such as a mortgage or lien

  1. 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