ham·​per | \ ˈham-pər \
hampered; hampering\ ˈham-​p(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of hamper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to restrict the movement of by bonds or obstacles : impede pitching … violently in the seaway, hampered by her heavy tow— R. S. Porteous
b : to interfere with the operation of : disrupt radio communications hampered by static— Globe & Mail
2a : to moderate or limit the effect or full exercise of : curb, restrain a work environment that hampers creativity
b : to interfere with : to impede the natural activity of : encumber Bad weather hampered the search effort. a project hampered by budget restraints



Definition of hamper (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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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


The project was hampered by budget restraints. Construction is hampering traffic on the highway.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This push has been hampered by the failure to gauge and price risk accurately, and the lack of penalties for failing companies. Shen Hong, WSJ, "Default Fears Add Fresh Stress to Chinese Private Sector," 11 Jan. 2019 The recent building boom has also been hampered in many cases by a persistent shortage of workers, which drives up wages and costs. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rising labor costs send the price of house construction skyward," 17 Dec. 2018 The EU Commission is concerned that the deployment of emissions limiting technologies may have been hampered by meetings between BMW, Daimler (which owns Mercedes Benz) and the VW Group (owners of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche). Jon Porter, The Verge, "BMW, Daimler, and VW probed by EU over possible cartel activity," 18 Sep. 2018 Trump also said the nuclear negotiations with North Korea have been hampered by the lack of support from China, the North's only major ally that's engaged in an intensifying trade dispute with the United States. Fox News, "Seoul regrets delay in Pompeo trip, agrees on joint efforts," 25 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, Gerard Pique is into the latter stages of his career and Thomas Vermaelen has been hampered by injuries since his arrival at the Nou Camp. SI.com, "Clement Lenglet Delays Decision Over Future as Sevilla Offer Him a New Contract Amid Barcelona Links," 30 June 2018 Smith seemed to be on the verge of becoming one of the league’s top cornerbacks several times but has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, "Preston: Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey gearing up for a big season," 24 May 2018 Neither of the two primary CFC-11 use-cases, firefighting and refrigerators, are at all hampered today by not having the substance, Ferry said. Rafi Letzter, Scientific American, "Earth’s Ozone Layer is Under Attack—Again," 22 May 2018 The buy segment has been a weak spot, hampered by the changing retail environment and challenges that consumer-product companies face from new consumer tastes and shopping habits. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, "Nielsen Holdings Names IBM’s David Kenny as CEO," 20 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Advocates and mental-health providers said numerous barriers hamper Asian New Yorkers from receiving care, first among them cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness, which many see as a Western concept. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "Advocates Push for Better Mental-Health Care for Asian New Yorkers," 25 Oct. 2018 Harrods hampers have been legendary European luxury gifts since 1894, and will now be sold in the United States for the first time ever. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Williams Sonoma Is Bringing Brings Harrods To The U.S. For The First Time," 6 Nov. 2018 Ask Family Members to (Pretty Please) Pre-Sort Keep two labelled hampers in every bedroom (or guest room)—one for whites and one for darks—then tell family members to abide by the rules. Shelby Deering, Good Housekeeping, "The Laundry Essentials That’ll Save You a Ton of Time During the Holidays," 27 Nov. 2018 London's Hotel Cafe Royal has a package that includes a luxury limo trip to Windsor Castle with a picnic hamper. Beth J. Harpaz, chicagotribune.com, "Royal wedding: At hotels, $50K packages, Union Jack condoms," 2 May 2018 Use it to hide electronics, the hamper, or a work zone in the living room; lay it flat against the wall as a larger-than-life headboard; or simply prop it up in the corner to add dimension. Joanna Linberg, Sunset, "10 Stunning Rattan Pieces for Your Home," 22 Jan. 2018 Does après-elliptical translate directly into the hamper? Alexandra Gurvitch, Vogue, "How to (Actually) Dress Up the Humble Gym Short," 5 June 2018 Children as young as 2 or 3 can start helping with chores, such as carrying a plate to the table and putting clothes in the hamper. Andrea Petersen, WSJ, "The Overprotected American Child," 1 June 2018 Also on display was a sumptuous picnic spread, including the Rockefellers’ English wicker hamper with settings for 12, a gift from King Hassan II of Morocco ($5,000 to $10,000). New York Times, "Pulled From Rockefeller Walls, Picasso, Matisse and Monet Fetch Big Prices," 8 May 2018

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


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hamper


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

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Statistics for hamper

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for hamper

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

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More Definitions for hamper



English Language Learners Definition of hamper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to slow the movement, progress, or action of (someone or something)



English Language Learners Definition of hamper (Entry 2 of 2)

: a basket for food

: a basket for holding dirty clothes until they can be washed


ham·​per | \ ˈham-pər \
hampered; hampering

Kids Definition of hamper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to keep from moving or acting freely Snow hampered traffic.



Kids Definition of hamper (Entry 2 of 2)

: a large basket usually with a cover a clothes hamper

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More from Merriam-Webster on hamper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hamper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hamper

Spanish Central: Translation of hamper

Nglish: Translation of hamper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hamper for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hamper

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


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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