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ham·​per ˈham-pər How to pronounce hamper (audio)
hampered; hampering ˈham-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hamper (audio)

transitive verb

: to restrict the movement of by bonds or obstacles : impede
pitching … violently in the seaway, hampered by her heavy towR. S. Porteous
: to interfere with the operation of : disrupt
radio communications hampered by staticGlobe & Mail
: to moderate or limit the effect or full exercise of : curb, restrain
a work environment that hampers creativity
: to interfere with : to impede the natural activity of : encumber
Bad weather hampered the search effort.
a project hampered by budget restraints


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: a large basket usually with a cover for packing, storing, or transporting articles (such as food or laundry)
Choose the Right Synonym for hamper

hamper, trammel, clog, fetter, shackle, manacle mean to hinder or impede in moving, progressing, or acting.

hamper may imply the effect of any impeding or restraining influence.

hampered the investigation by refusing to cooperate

trammel suggests entangling by or confining within a net.

rules that trammel the artist's creativity

clog usually implies a slowing by something extraneous or encumbering.

a court system clogged by frivolous suits

fetter suggests a restraining so severe that freedom to move or progress is almost lost.

a nation fettered by an antiquated class system

shackle and manacle are stronger than fetter and suggest total loss of freedom.

a mind shackled by stubborn prejudice
a people manacled by tyranny

Examples of hamper in a Sentence

Verb The project was hampered by budget restraints. Construction is hampering traffic on the highway.
Recent Examples on the Web
Myers knew that destroying the second bridge could hamper the Axis leaders’ response to the Allied advance. Myke Cole and Michael Livingston, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 But Kopitar and winger Adrian Kempe tailed off, with Kempe going eight games without a goal starting Jan. 9 and Kopitar hampered by an undisclosed injury. Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times, 2 Feb. 2024 Under the federal version of the law, there’s an exception for faltering companies actively seeking capital to stay in business and believe that advance notice would hamper its ability to do so. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2024 Last week, Daihatsu announced a recall of Pixis Joy models sold by Toyota, saying a defect could cause all doors of the vehicle to lock during a collision and hamper rescue efforts. Andrew Jeong, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2024 That’s partly because the vetting process, city officials contend, is cumbersome and time-consuming, therefore hampering San Diego’s ability to apply for grants and renew contracts for important tools. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Jan. 2024 The implants somewhat alter the cochlea, which could hamper the interpretation of gene therapy results. Gina Kolata, New York Times, 23 Jan. 2024 Chiefs’ under-performing offense will be missing All-Pro LG Joe Thuney on Sunday, and Mahomes has been hampered all season by a WR corps that led the NFL in most fumbles (10) and dropped passes (39). Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 25 Jan. 2024 That’s an impressive run, making clear that word-of-mouth was not hampered by any revelation that there were lots of songs. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2024
The study found that the lower someone's income, the higher their tax rate, which lets the wealthy off the hook and hampers states' ability to raise revenue. Harold Maass, The Week Us, theweek, 10 Jan. 2024 Incorrect mask usage, prevalent despite high mask adoption, hampers effectiveness. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 19 Jan. 2024 And once your clothes are no longer clean, the zippered pouch makes an excellent dirty laundry hamper. Anna Popp, Travel + Leisure, 22 Sep. 2023 Staton noted how Girardi would dig through a hamper looking for the sweater before key meetings with psychological experts. Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times, 6 Jan. 2024 Pick matching bins to help things look tidy when they're put away, or choose a large hamper with a lid so dirty clothes and towels can be easily stashed away until laundry day. Maggie Gillette, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 Dec. 2023 Losing this type of monitoring hampers the process of working to understand the origins of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants. The Conversation, Fortune Well, 12 Sep. 2023 Breakfast is part of the fun — simply hoist your hamper up to the tree house when it's delivered in the morning. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 22 Aug. 2023 Our friends who warn that America’s Ukraine assistance hampers efforts to arm Taiwan are missing this critical part of the equation. The Editors, National Review, 6 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History



Middle English


Middle English hamper, hanaper, literally, case to hold goblets, from Anglo-French hanaper, from hanap goblet, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English hnæpp bowl

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hamper was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near hamper

Cite this Entry

“Hamper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hamper. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
ham·​per ˈham-pər How to pronounce hamper (audio)
hampered; hampering -p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hamper (audio)
: to slow the movement, progress, or action of
bad weather hampered the search


2 of 2 noun
: a large basket usually with a cover
a clothes hamper

More from Merriam-Webster on hamper

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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