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

Other Words from cumbersome

cumbersomely adverb
cumbersomeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cumbersome



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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.
Recent Examples on the Web The original machine code we programmers worked in was horribly cumbersome; low-level binary languages were abstract and granular. Vaidya Aiyer, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Standardization has greatly simplified Medigap price shopping by removing a multitude of riders and nuances that were extremely cumbersome. Justin Brock, Rolling Stone, 19 Nov. 2021 Introduced in response to articles in The Wall Street Journal, the legislation is meant to address a longstanding problem: that judges’ financial disclosures aren’t online, are cumbersome to request and sometimes take years to access. James V. Grimaldi, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2021 Heavy-duty pairs are usually expensive and can be cumbersome to walk around in, while comfortable options don't always provide enough protection. Lindsey Greenfeld,, 17 Nov. 2021 Some of the mandates permit testing in lieu of vaccination, but many businesses say frequent testing will be so cumbersome as to be effectively unworkable. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, 30 Oct. 2021 Indeed, coastal officials argue that FEMA’s process has been overly cumbersome compared to previous storms. al, 1 June 2021 Because the current water safety tests are still cumbersome to use for most people, the goal is to make them as easy to use as a pregnancy test so that they can be easily deployed in homes, day care centers and schools. Sera Young, Scientific American, 18 Apr. 2021 The system was so cumbersome that many people who wanted shots couldn’t find them or weren't allowed to sign up [because of age restrictions]. Stuart Emmrich, Vogue, 15 Apr. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of cumbersome

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for cumbersome

see cumber entry 1

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Time Traveler for cumbersome

Time Traveler

The first known use of cumbersome was in 1535

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Dictionary Entries Near cumbersome

Cumberland sauce



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Statistics for cumbersome

Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cumbersome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cumbersome


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

More from Merriam-Webster on cumbersome

Nglish: Translation of cumbersome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cumbersome for Arabic Speakers


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