verb (used with object)

  1. to impede or hinder; hamper; retard: Red tape encumbers all our attempts at action.
  2. to block up or fill with what is obstructive or superfluous: a mind encumbered with trivial and useless information.
  3. to burden or weigh down: She was encumbered with a suitcase and several packages.
  4. to burden with obligations, debt, etc.

verb (tr)

  1. to hinder or impede; make difficult; hamperencumbered with parcels after going shopping at Christmas; his stupidity encumbers his efforts to learn
  2. to fill with superfluous or useless matter
  3. to burden with debts, obligations, etc

early 14c., “burden, vex, inconvenience,” from Old French encombrer “to block up, hinder, thwart,” from Late Latin incombrare, from in- “in” (see in- (2)) + combrus “barricade, obstacle,” probably from Latin cumulus “heap.” Meaning “hinder, hamper” is attested in English from late 14c. Related: Encumbered; encumbering.

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