Definition of cumber in English:



[with object]dated
  • 1Hamper or hinder.

    ‘they were cumbered with greatcoats and swords’
    • ‘The municipality carried a crippling burden of 13 months of unpaid salaries and was cumbered by a devastating one-year-long strike action, rendering the local authority moribund.’
    • ‘He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict.’
    • ‘Now it is good for nothing, but to cumber the ground, and furnish fuel for Tophet.’
    • ‘That's what I am cumbered with but I have come here to do a job that the people have committed me to do.’
    • ‘But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?’
    hamper, be a hindrance to, obstruct, impede, inhibit, retard, baulk, thwart, foil, baffle, curb, delay, arrest, interfere with, set back, slow down, hold back, hold up, forestall, stop, halt
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    1. 1.1 Obstruct (a path or space)
      ‘the road was clean and dry and not still cumbered by slush’
      block, block up, clog, clog up, get in the way of, stand in the way of, cut off, shut off, jam, bung up, gum up, choke, barricade, bar, dam up
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  • A hindrance, obstruction, or burden.

    ‘a cumber of limestone rocks’
    impediment, obstacle, barrier, bar, obstruction, handicap, block, check, curb, brake, hurdle, restraint, restriction, limitation, encumbrance, deterrent, complication, delay, interruption, stoppage
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Middle English (in the sense ‘overthrow, destroy’): probably from encumber.