One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Hamper or hinder (someone or something)‘they were cumbered with greatcoats and swords’
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, haltView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘Now it is good for nothing, but to cumber the ground, and furnish fuel for Tophet.’
- ‘He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict.’
- ‘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?’
- 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 upView synonyms
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, stoppageView synonyms
Middle English (in the sense ‘overthrow, destroy’): probably from encumber.
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