Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Cumbersome.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unwieldy because of its weight; cumbersome.
  • adj. Giving trouble; vexatious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Rendering action or motion difficult or toilsome; serving to obstruct or hinder; burdensome; clogging.
  • adj. Giving trouble; vexatious.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Burdensome; hindering or obstructing; rendering action difficult or toilsome; clogging; cumbersome.
  • Causing trouble or annoyance; troublesome; vexatious.
  • Difficult to use; characterized by unwieldiness or clumsiness; ungainly; clumsy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. difficult to handle or use especially because of size or weight

Etymologies

Middle English, from cumbren, to annoy; see cumber.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From cumber + -ous. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He had been, though a much younger man, acquainted with the late Sir Hildebrand; and whenever Mrs Rayland and Lord Carloraine met, which they did in cumbrous state twice or thrice a year, their whole conversation consisted of eulogiums on the days that were passed, in expressing their dislike of all that was now acting in a degenerate world, and their contempt of the actors.

    The Old Manor House

  • Since Latin enditing is "cumbrous," the translator of _The Blood at

    Early Theories of Translation

  • [46] In all Gray's Odes, there is a kind of cumbrous splendour which we wish away ....

    Life Of Johnson

  • "hallowed fountains," and "solemn sound;" but in all Gray's odes there is a kind of cumbrous splendour which we wish away.

    Johnson's Lives of the Poets — Volume 2

  • "In all Gray's odes," wrote Johnson, "there is a kind of cumbrous splendor which we wish away ...

    A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century

  • The exception was that the formal pronoun was never used in addressing God, and it would still be weird for anybody to use the formal pronoun in prayer, though the endings of it are sometimes unwittingly attached to verbs by people who still find the informal cumbrous and unfamiliar.

    Fateful Realizations of the Unexamined Life « Unknowing

  • These will not be numbered among the devotees of Waugh, and probably struggle with pompousness, may be cumbrous or even clumsy from time to time.

    If I Could Have a Conversation about It: Decline and Fall « Unknowing

  • He certainly loved his little illustrations in The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite more than all the lengthy accounts and necessarily cumbrous descriptions of ceremonies which in actuality sometimes go as smoothly as the waters of Shiloah.

    On Adrian Fortescue

  • Mr. Jensen describes how his sailors feel cumbrous and fumbling when on land, and the same is somewhat the case for the book.

    Going to Sea Once More

  • John Gielgud, playing Othello at Stratford in 1961, was less happy, complaining that Hall's costumes were "beautiful but cumbrous" and that the elaborate production stalled while Zeffirelli leafed through "his damned press cuttings".

    Peter J Hall obituary

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  • As an overladen Indiaman bearing down the Hindostan coast with a deck load of frightened horses, careens, buries, rolls, and wallows on her way; so did this old whale heave his aged bulk, and now and then partly turning over on his cumbrous rib-ends, expose the cause of his devious wake in the unnatural stump of his starboard fin.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 81

    July 26, 2008

  • "...the system of tackles to the fore and main yardarms being so cumbrous..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Truelove, 227

    March 11, 2008

  • "Then, without warning, the tunnel ended.
    The cumbrous door blocking their way was a thick wall of riveted iron."
    - 'Angels and Demons', Dan Brown.

    February 28, 2008