en·​cum·​brance | \ in-ˈkəm-brən(t)s How to pronounce encumbrance (audio) \

Definition of encumbrance

1 : something that encumbers : impediment, burden
2 : a claim (such as a mortgage) against property

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of encumbrance in a Sentence

without the encumbrance of a heavy backpack, I could sprint along the trail
Recent Examples on the Web Freed from the encumbrances of physical infrastructure, fitness can happen anywhere, in any form, anytime. Michael Owen, The Atlantic, "Will We Ever Get the Gym Back?," 29 May 2020 The querying feeling is basically gone: In its stead is a polished cohesion, the reassurance of something executed crisply and masterfully, almost without encumbrance. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber’s Slow Dance, and 10 More New Songs," 8 May 2020 Late August through the end of September is the best time to make major changes that free you from past encumbrances and give you a leg up in with your career. oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 28, 2020: Happy birthday Julia Stiles; Capricorn, relax, enjoy some hobbies," 28 Mar. 2020 Proposed appropriations in the General Fund, including encumbrances, will be approximately $25.2 million. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Preliminary budget talks begin in Brook Park," 16 Mar. 2020 Perhaps most important, land banks have the power to clear title to its parcels of liens and other encumbrances that would normally inhibit a resale. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Land Bank admits faults, carries on amid complaints it moves too slowly," 3 Dec. 2019 Perhaps the Prius’ greatest accomplishment — making hybrid technology mainstream — is now its greatest encumbrance. Bloomberg, Twin Cities, "Prius sales are falling, but hybrids are more popular than ever," 3 June 2019 Musk points out that with shipping-container farms, which lock out all the traditional encumbrances of farming—drought, locusts, 24-hour cycles of day and night—optimization of food is possible. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Kimbal Musk Is Reinventing Food One Shipping Container at a Time," 24 Oct. 2018 That might sound nice to Trump: a Supreme Court justice who’s sympathetic to the encumbrance of an ongoing investigation. Jen Kirby, Vox, "7 legal experts on how Kavanaugh views executive power — and what it could mean for Mueller," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'encumbrance.' 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 encumbrance

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about encumbrance

Time Traveler for encumbrance

Time Traveler

The first known use of encumbrance was in 1535

See more words from the same year

Statistics for encumbrance

Cite this Entry

“Encumbrance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encumbrance. Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for encumbrance


variants: also incumbrance \ in-​ˈkəm-​brəns \

Legal Definition of encumbrance

: a claim (as a lien) against property specifically : an interest or right (as an easement or a lease) in real property that may diminish the value of the estate but does not prevent the conveyance of the estate that these premises are free from all encumbrances

More from Merriam-Webster on encumbrance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for encumbrance

Nglish: Translation of encumbrance for Spanish Speakers

Comments on encumbrance

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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