verb (used with object)
- 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.
- 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
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.