- something that encumbers; something burdensome, useless, or superfluous; burden; hindrance: Poverty was a lifelong encumbrance.
- a dependent person, especially a child.
- Law. a burden or claim on property, as a mortgage.
- a thing that impedes or is burdensome; hindrance
- law a burden or charge upon property, such as a mortgage or lien
- rare a dependent person, esp a child
early 14c., from Old French encombrance, from encombrer (see encumber).