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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Even with less weight, the Allpa 35L Del Día's felt cumbersome on my back, even with its padded shoulder straps. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Cotopaxi’s Allpa 35L Is a Gadget-Friendly Travel Bag. But Is It Right For You?," 24 Dec. 2019 Filing bankruptcy shields debtors from collections, at least temporarily, but the process can be cumbersome and expensive. Anjali Tsui, ProPublica, "They Loan You Money. Then They Get a Warrant for Your Arrest.," 3 Dec. 2019 Bulletproof vests are cumbersome and draw unwelcome attention, while panic buttons do not always draw quick enough responses from police to deter killers. Duncan Tucker, Time, "Colombia Must Protect the Women Risking Their Lives to Defend Black Communities," 23 Nov. 2019 Something that’s not cumbersome and doesn’t get in the way. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Michael B. Jordan Talks New Unisex Fashion Line for Coach," 1 Oct. 2019 Indeed, government — through cumbersome permitting processes, high taxes, and burdensome licensing requirements — often holds back the fortunes of down-on-their-luck cities such as those Venture for America has helped revitalize. Howard Husock, National Review, "Andrew Yang Shouldn’t Retreat from His Past Success in Revitalizing Depressed Cities," 4 Oct. 2019 Uganda has a less cumbersome approval process and a more open seed market. The Economist, "Better seeds could help African farmers grow far more," 28 Sep. 2019 The law speeds up what could be a cumbersome process for areas hoping to legalize Sunday sales. Leada Gore |, al, "It will soon be easier to start Sunday alcohol sales in Alabama," 31 July 2019 After years of criticisms from conservatives that the endangered species program is too cumbersome for industry and landowners, President Donald Trump’s administration has enacted 33 different reforms. Seth Borenstein, The Denver Post, "Endangered Species Act at work in protecting butterflies at Fort Bragg’s artillery range," 19 Nov. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for cumbersome

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cumbersome.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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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

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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).


dull or mediocre

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