Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To weigh down; burden.
  • transitive verb To hamper or hinder, as by being in the way.
  • transitive verb To litter; clutter up.
  • transitive verb Archaic To bother; distress.
  • noun A hindrance; an encumbrance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That which cumbers; a burden; a hindrance; an obstruction.
  • noun Embarrassment; disturbance; distress; trouble.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete Trouble; embarrassment; distress.
  • transitive verb 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, dated To slow down, to hinder, to burden.

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

  • verb hold back

Etymologies

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

[Middle English combren, to annoy, from Old French combrer, from combre, hindrance, from Vulgar Latin *comboros, of Celtic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Middle English combren.

Examples

  • The word cumber here means to render barren or sterile.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • Such trifles at best come under the head of what old Warner would have called cumber-minds.

    Among My Books Second Series

  • He made this plea, not with an armoury of Greek learning, such as cumber Virgil and Horace, but with an original passion.

    The Elegies of Tibullus Being the Consolations of a Roman Lover Done in English Verse

  • Whereupon the hawker took a "cumber" from his barrow, bit off the end, and chewed it till the sap squirted.

    The Lost Girl

  • It wasn't a hunting theme but the groom and groomsmen did were camo cumber buns.

    Camo Weddings

  • When a man is free much may go unquestioned, which, should he be rash enough to cumber himself with domestic ties, society will instantly challenge.

    THE SCORN OF WOMEN

  • Why should they cumber their strength with his weakness?

    THE WISDOM OF THE TRAIL

  • And, while it is not nice that these men should die, it is ordained that they must die, and we should not quarrel with them if they cumber our highways and kitchen stoops with their perambulating carcasses.

    THE TRAMP

  • Why should they cumber their strength with his weakness?

    The Wisdom of the Trail

  • It wasn't a hunting theme but the groom and groomsmen did were camo cumber buns.

    Camo Weddings

Comments

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  • 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

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

    September 15, 2009