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

Examples of encumbrance in a Sentence

without the encumbrance of a heavy backpack, I could sprint along the trail
Recent Examples on the Web And despite insistences from Trump and his allies that having to attend the trial is an encumbrance designed to keep him off the campaign trail, the bodega visit was a good reminder that there’s still plenty of time in the week for Trump to campaign. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2024 In California, a clean title indicates a property with no liens, encumbrances or claims, ensuring the seller has clear and legal rights to sell without issue. Pat Kapowich, The Mercury News, 23 Mar. 2024 There have been suggestions that AI needs Section 230 because large language models train on data and will be better if that data is freely usable with no liabilities or encumbrances. Jaron Lanier, WIRED, 13 Feb. 2024 But, eventually, families and jobs and the various other encumbrances of adult life conspire to pull you away. Andrew Keh Bryan Meltz, New York Times, 24 July 2023 The house, together with all its conveyances, encumbrances, assignments, contracts, mortgages, liens, other interests, termites and skunks. Virginia Hammerle, Dallas News, 26 Mar. 2023 At this point, minor villains can only be an encumbrance. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 22 Mar. 2023 Without the encumbrance of a mask. Danielle Ofri, STAT, 14 May 2021 Both a falcon feather and a hammer fall at the same speed, but without the encumbrance of a massive vacuum chamber. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 6 Nov. 2014

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'encumbrance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 19 May. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on encumbrance

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