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 Cunningham said the process in Lake County is more cumbersome than the procedure crafted in Cook, DuPage, Will and Kane counties, which also got a direct CARES Act allocation along with Chicago. Steve Sadin,, "‘A bureaucracy on top of a bureaucracy’; Municipalities frustrated waiting for Lake County to release federal coronavirus relief funds," 8 Sep. 2020 To prepare for fight scenes in alleyways and a London teahouse, Brown trained for nearly two months, both in and out of her cumbersome period costume. Mary Sollosi,, "Millie Bobby Brown on becoming a Victorian 'wild child' in Enola Holmes," 7 Sep. 2020 One that has featured prominently is regulatory reform, which would help roll back cumbersome bureaucratic rules and streamline the development of clean-energy projects. Nate Hochman, National Review, "Toward a Conservative Environmentalism," 3 Sep. 2020 The same thing could — and should — be done with records maintained by state and local governments, removing a cumbersome, unnecessary barrier between the public and the records to which they are entitled. Steven Potter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Expand access to online records in Wisconsin," 2 Sep. 2020 Without Shtozzy’s big play, the path to a championship would’ve been slightly more cumbersome. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "From CoD undertaker to unselfish play: The 10 best moments from the Dallas Empire’s 2020 season," 31 Aug. 2020 Many youngsters start out with pump-action shotguns, but some models may be too cumbersome or hard-kicking for them. Mike Dickerson, Field & Stream, "The Best Guns for First-Time Buyers," 19 Aug. 2020 Though the bottom-fill tank without a handle or wide opening may make refilling and cleaning a bit more cumbersome. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "Breathe Easier With One of These 10 Best Humidifiers," 18 Aug. 2020 At the same time, most are too long and cumbersome to qualify as a dedicated trail gun. Richard Mann, Field & Stream, "The 10 Best Handguns and Long Guns for the Trail," 17 Aug. 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.

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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

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cumbersome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 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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