Definition of cumbrous in US English:



  • literary term for cumbersome
    • ‘At the heart of this strange embedded narrative lies a cumbrous allegory.’
    • ‘His ribs must have been tearing at their cumbrous shell.’
    • ‘On the one hand, victims of crime could now bring their cases to the attention of the authorities through bills of indictment instead of through the cumbrous and difficult procedure of appeal.’
    • ‘The subordinate forms in a period are often nested one within the other, like Chinese boxes; in its most complex forms it can be cumbrous and hard to follow.’
    • ‘The parry of prime which was effectual enough when a heavy cut was to be stopped was too slow and cumbrous to keep pace with the nimbler thrust.’
    • ‘Under the cumbrous heading ‘Possible Engagements Are to be Regarded as Real Ones Because of their Consequences’, Clausewitz explained further what he meant by this ‘priority of engagements’.’
    • ‘If that be so he will have a choice, which will often be a choice between the old, cumbrous, costly, on the one hand, the modern, rapid, cheap, on the other.’
    • ‘It was his role to give the villains their orders for the night, haggle over the prices and keep a candle burning in the dissecting room waiting for the cumbrous sacks to arrive.’
    • ‘Still, they will not be blocking intersections or chanting beneath cumbrous papier-mache puppets.’
    • ‘Against such a view as his, it can be argued that touring something as cumbrous and labor-intensive as opera is an expensive business.’
    • ‘I shall hope that a more rigorous, if more cumbrous, mode of expression will always be readily available.’
    • ‘He replied that the proxy bill was not unconstitutional, though its mode of operation was ‘inconvenient, cumbrous and liable to fraud and abuse.’’
    • ‘In the Middle Ages the cumbrous but powerful crossbow was widely used in continental Europe.’
    • ‘Without decimals, Europe would have remained trapped in the cumbrous Roman system of numeration.’
    • ‘Her treatise has the usual cumbrous apparatus of scholarly citation, though I did wonder about her methods of research.’
    • ‘Clearly, members were unhappy with the cumbrous nature of the rulemaking process.’
    • ‘Early European settlers adopted the process, but found less cumbrous methods.’
    • ‘It was anti-futuristic, so cumbrous and mechanical that even the acronym seemed dated.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘difficult to get through’): from cumber + -ous.