en·​cum·​brance in-ˈkəm-brən(t)s How to pronounce encumbrance (audio)
: something that encumbers : impediment, burden
: a claim (such as a mortgage) against property

Example Sentences

without the encumbrance of a heavy backpack, I could sprint along the trail
Recent Examples on the Web On the other hand, Israel, which American strategists originally saw as an encumbrance, was reappraised as a valuable strategic player after the 1956 and 1967 wars, and finally recognized as the most reliable regional ally. Michel Gurfinkiel, WSJ, 29 July 2022 No longer, Kennedy Center officials say, will any of the actors carry their scripts onstage, a practice that was a concession to short rehearsal periods but that over time has proved an encumbrance. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2022 Paying down debt remains the best hedge against financial encumbrance. Etta Money, Forbes, 12 July 2022 To critics of Web3, blockchains are at best an unnecessary encumbrance on a startup like Flowcarbon. Christopher Mims, WSJ, 4 June 2022 The data from commercial spacecraft may not be as high-quality as those the latest U.S. spy satellites can reap, but they can be easily shared without the encumbrance of security restrictions. Robert Wall, WSJ, 1 May 2022 Other skeptical reactions include preferences for the convenience of pills over the encumbrance of headsets, or fears that the widespread prescribing of V.R. will mean losing access to painkillers. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 However, the total quality of our freedom, the ability to move without encumbrance or a hindrance is a far piece off still. Candace Mcduffie, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Dec. 2021 Don't like encumbrance rules or somatic requirements to cast spells? Jason Bennett, Arkansas Online, 14 June 2021 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of encumbrance was in 1535

Dictionary Entries Near encumbrance

Cite this Entry

“Encumbrance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encumbrance. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



en·​cum·​brance in-ˈkəm-brən(t)s How to pronounce encumbrance (audio)
: something that encumbers : burden
: a legal claim (as a mortgage) against property

Legal Definition



variants also incumbrance
: 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

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