cum·​ber·​some | \ ˈkəm-bər-səm How to pronounce cumbersome (audio) \

Definition of cumbersome

1 : unwieldy because of heaviness and bulk a cumbersome package
2 : slow-moving : ponderous cumbersome administrative procedures
3 dialect : burdensome, troublesome

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cumbersome

cumbersomely adverb
cumbersomeness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cumbersome

heavy, weighty, ponderous, cumbrous, cumbersome mean having great weight. heavy implies that something has greater density or thickness than the average of its kind or class. a heavy child for his age weighty suggests having actual and not just relative weight. a load of weighty boxes ponderous implies having great weight because of size and massiveness with resulting great inertia. ponderous elephants in a circus parade cumbrous and cumbersome imply heaviness and bulkiness that make for difficulty in grasping, moving, carrying, or manipulating. wrestled with the cumbrous furniture early cameras were cumbersome and inconvenient

Examples of cumbersome in a Sentence

Squad members, already decked out in cumbersome chemical suits, put on masks and rubber gloves. — Ray Wilkinson, Newsweek, 11 Mar. 1991 He got the approval of the higher-ups, but the course was scuttled by members of his own department, who devised all kinds of cumbersome, silly requirements and prerequisites. — Alice Munro, New Yorker, 20 Mar. 1989 He cut some segments of the 2" pine but discovered that … a cumbersome system of braces would be needed to hold the sides straight. — John Updike, Couples, 1968 The application process is cumbersome and time-consuming. Her expanded job title is really cumbersome.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Residents have to sign informed consent forms to get a vaccine, forms that are often long and cumbersome. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Poor planning and bureaucracy slow vaccination of nursing homes," 12 Jan. 2021 The reason, according to Amazon, is to remove the cumbersome step of selecting a size. Washington Post, "For Amazon’s $25 custom T-shirt, your body is a wonderland (of data)," 5 Jan. 2021 Yet with talks on the brink of failing, people involved in the negotiations say there has been movement on both sides which at least opens the possibility of a deal even though fixing the details could prove cumbersome. Laurence Norman And Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "U.K., EU Leaders Extend Marathon Brexit Talks," 13 Dec. 2020 Experts acknowledged that preparing for death can be cumbersome. Deon J. Hampton, NBC News, "Americans flocked to buy life insurance, prepare wills and trusts last year," 1 Jan. 2021 That could pose technical difficulties for some as typing on the Switch may feel more cumbersome than typing on a PC or smartphone. Shannon Liao, CNN, "'Among Us' arrives on Nintendo Switch," 15 Dec. 2020 Software developers say the Android process is cumbersome, though, and most customers do not use that option. Washington Post, "Apple cuts some App Store fees, but critics call it a ploy to avoid regulation," 18 Nov. 2020 The Outlook calendar my employer provides is cumbersome and annoying. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Fantasical is Apple's Mac app of the year, but would you pay $40 for a calendar?," 5 Dec. 2020 Early card readers were on iPads, cumbersome and expensive. Laura Reiley, Washington Post, "The Trump administration is putting more fresh fruit and vegetables in the hands of low-income Americans," 3 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cumbersome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cumbersome

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for cumbersome

see cumber entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cumbersome

Time Traveler for cumbersome

Time Traveler

The first known use of cumbersome was in 1535

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cumbersome

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cumbersome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cumbersome


How to pronounce cumbersome (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cumbersome

: hard to handle or manage because of size or weight
: complicated and hard to do
: long and difficult to read, say, etc.


cum·​ber·​some | \ ˈkəm-bər-səm How to pronounce cumbersome (audio) \

Kids Definition of cumbersome

: hard to handle or manage because of size or weight

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on cumbersome

What made you want to look up cumbersome? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!