- To encumber is defined as to restrain, weigh down, hinder or obstruct.
When a heavy load makes it hard for a wagon to move, this is an example of encumber.
A motorcycle encumbered with baskets.
- to hold back the motion or action of, as with a burden; hinder; hamper
- to fill in such a way as to obstruct; block up; obstruct
- to load or weigh down, as with claims, debts, etc.; burden
Origin of encumberMiddle English encombren ; from Old French encombrer: see en- and amp; cumber
transitive verben·cum·bered, en·cum·ber·ing, en·cum·bers
- To cause to have difficulty in moving or in accomplishing something; burden: a hiker encumbered with a heavy pack; a student encumbered with responsibilities.
- To hinder or impede the action or performance of: restrictions that encumber police work. See Synonyms at hinder1.
- To burden with legal or financial obligations: an estate that is encumbered with debts.
Origin of encumberMiddle English encombren, from Old French encombrer, to block up : en-, in; see en–1 + combre, hindrance (from Gaulish *comboros).
(third-person singular simple present encumbers, present participle encumbering, simple past and past participle encumbered)
From Old French encombrer, from en- + combrer (“to hinder”); see cumber.