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

  • transitive v. To weigh down; burden: was cumbered with many duties.
  • transitive v. To hamper or hinder, as by being in the way: was cumbered with a long poncho.
  • transitive v. To litter; clutter up: Weeds cumbered the garden paths.
  • transitive v. Archaic To bother; distress.
  • n. A hindrance; an encumbrance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To slow down, to hinder, to burden.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Trouble; embarrassment; distress.
  • transitive v. To rest upon as a troublesome or useless weight or load; to be burdensome or oppressive to; to hinder or embarrass in attaining an object, to obstruct or occupy uselessly; to embarrass; to trouble.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To burden or obstruct with or as with a load or weight, or any impediment; load excessively or uselessly; press upon; choke up; clog.
  • To be a clog to; hinder by obstruction; hamper in movement.
  • To trouble; perplex; embarrass; distract.
  • n. That which cumbers; a burden; a hindrance; an obstruction.
  • n. Embarrassment; disturbance; distress; trouble.

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

  • v. hold back


Middle English combren, to annoy, from Old French combrer, from combre, hindrance, from Vulgar Latin *comboros, of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Middle English combren. (Wiktionary)



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  • how it minces! there should be a "Mincing words" list

    September 15, 2009

  • I love to steal awhile away
    From every cumbering care,
    And spend the hours of setting day
    In humble, grateful prayer.

    - Phebe (Hinsdale) Brown, 'Private Devotion'.

    September 15, 2009