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encumber

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verb en·cum·ber \in-ˈkəm-bər\

Simple Definition of encumber

  • : to make (someone or something) hold or carry something heavy

  • : to cause problems or difficulties for (someone or something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of encumber

encumbered

encumbering

play \-b(ə-)riŋ\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  weigh down, burden <tourists encumbered by heavy luggage>

  3. 2 :  to impede or hamper the function or activity of :  hinder <negotiations encumbered by a lack of trust>

  4. 3 :  to burden with a legal claim (as a mortgage) <encumber an estate>

Examples of encumber in a sentence

  1. These rules will only encumber the people we're trying to help.

  2. Lack of funding has encumbered the project.



Did You Know?

In Old French, the noun "combre" meant a defensive obstacle formed by felled trees with sharpened branches facing the enemy. Later, in Middle French, "combre" referred to a barrier, similar to a dam or weir, constructed in the bed of a river to hold back fish or protect the banks. That notion of holding back is what informs our verb "encumber," formed by combining en- and combre. One can be physically encumbered (as by a heavy load or severe weather), or figuratively (as by bureaucratic restrictions). "Combre" also gives us the adjectives "cumbersome" and "cumbrous," both meaning "awkward or difficult to handle."

Origin and Etymology of encumber

Middle English encombren, from Anglo-French encumbrer, from en- + Middle French combre dam, weir


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with encumber


ENCUMBER Defined for Kids

encumber

play
verb en·cum·ber \in-ˈkəm-bər\

Definition of encumber for Students

encumbered

encumbering

  1. 1 :  to weigh down :  burden <Their heavy coats encumbered the children.>

  2. 2 :  to cause problems or delays for :  hinder <Bad weather encumbered the building project.>




Law Dictionary

encumber

transitive verb en·cum·ber \in-ˈkəm-bər\

Legal Definition of encumber

encumbered

encumbering

  1. :  to burden with a claim (as a mortgage or lien) <encumbered the land with a mineral lease>



Variants of encumber

also

incumber

\in-ˈkəm-bər\


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