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

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Animal studies have shown PFOS affects the ability of cells to communicate with each other -- potentially hampering the immune system’s ability to destroy viruses and the rogue cells that cause cancer. Washington Post, "To the EPA, ‘Forever Chemicals’ Are a Big Problem Now," 18 Sep. 2019 The move elicited withering condemnation from congressional Democrats, who denounced it as a politically motivated decision that could hamper the government's ability to respond to disasters — especially during hurricane season. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "DHS chief says transfer of FEMA funds to border will have "no impact" on hurricane response," 1 Sep. 2019 Boatwright is among those who believe the current climate puts too much pressure and scrutiny on all law enforcement officers, hampering their ability to do their jobs safely and serve their communities. Jean Marbella, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore police feeling targeted both on the streets and by leadership," 30 Aug. 2019 Howard then signed with the Washington Wizards, but injuries once again hampered his ability to contribute. Tania Gangulistaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Lakers to sign Dwight Howard to a non-guaranteed contract," 23 Aug. 2019 Without the dental benefit, patients may not be as likely to receive care in the first place, which may lead to more serious conditions down the road and may hamper their ability to get jobs. Elizabeth Earl, Anchorage Daily News, "Providers await impacts of Medicaid cuts; dental services axed," 18 July 2019 More Badass Trains However, Amtrak instituted a new policy in 2018 that severely hampers the ability of the OHRF and others to organize and run excursion trains, pulled by historic engines like the 4449. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the SP 4449 Is Such a Badass Train," 15 July 2019 Joe Skowronek, a meteorologist with the NWS, said clouds will likely hamper your ability to see the meteors. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "You may be able to see two meteor showers at the same time over Indianapolis tonight," 4 June 2019 Two pharmaceutical companies objected to legislative efforts to expand the secrecy surrounding the source of Arkansas’ lethal injection drugs, saying the proposal would hamper their ability to ensure their products aren’t being used for executions. Andrew Demillo, The Seattle Times, "Drugmakers object to Arkansas execution secrecy measure," 29 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

How does that hamper or hurt our national security? CBS News, "Former DHS chiefs: We should anticipate efforts to interfere in the upcoming election," 9 Sep. 2019 Instead, a pile of dirty ones filled a nearby hamper. Los Angeles Times, "Living in L.A., one Airbnb at a time," 8 Aug. 2019 If Williams does decide to give her washing machine a break, these chic hampers should do the trick. Danielle Harling, House Beautiful, "Wendy Williams's Alternative to Using a Hamper Is...Weird," 16 May 2019 Peters argues that the movement also put a hamper on companies’ revenue prospects. Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New Yorker, "The Causes and Consequences of Berlin’s Rapid Gentrification," 12 July 2019 But the delayed start of the project, which was originally slated to begin in early summer, has some local business owners fearful that construction this fall could deter shoppers and hamper sales at the start of the annual holiday shopping season. Karen Ann Cullotta, chicagotribune.com, "Some downtown Winnetka business owners say fall streetscape construction could hurt sales," 7 June 2019 Wendelken earned his first big-league win and was wheeled into the shower in a laundry hamper after the game for the traditional beer shower. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "Powerful moves pay off for A’s in win at St. Louis," 25 June 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hamper

Dictionary Entries near hamper








Statistics for hamper

Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hamper

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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


ham·​per | \ ˈham-pər How to pronounce hamper (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

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!