Definition of encumbrance in English:



  • 1A burden or impediment.

    • ‘Money is not a pressing problem; domestic encumbrances remain out of sight.’
    • ‘Beginning this procedure early enough in the course of carpal tunnel syndrome should yield a good result and avoid unnecessary encumbrances on a pregnant woman.’
    • ‘What women need is a little oxygen, a little breathing room, to be without encumbrances and stress.’’
    • ‘When he began running for president, he left his past behind, along with the encumbrances that go with it.’
    • ‘Not once had she ever felt she were a bother, or an encumbrance, or an unwelcome guest taken in because she had nowhere else to go.’
    • ‘The object of these walks is to enjoy the exhilaration of walking without the encumbrance of clothing.’
    • ‘This cautious strategy allows Frankie to remain in a cocoon, unaffected by the encumbrances of getting close to other people.’
    • ‘I just shy away from hats, and gloves are encumbrances.’
    • ‘I'm a big fan of shipping stuff home, it's so nice to make at least one leg of a trip with minimum encumbrances.’
    • ‘He tells his story in a beautifully crisp prose which is joyfully free of academic encumbrances.’
    • ‘Sometimes physician assistants may be a slight encumbrance, requiring an inconvenient amount of the physicians' time, especially in the early stages of the partnership.’
    • ‘There is one school I know about where it was clear children were there because their parents found them an encumbrance to their normal business lives.’
    • ‘So the chancellor would be able to govern for at least one whole legislative period unhindered by the encumbrances of federalism.’
    • ‘Freed from inhibitions and encumbrances, they can choose their lives, do what they will.’
    • ‘We are also selling many gilets this autumn which allow people warmth with out the encumbrance of a jacket.’
    • ‘The last thing I wanted was the encumbrance and stress of a long distance relationship as I wandered foreign lands.’
    hindrance, obstruction, obstacle, impediment, restraint, constraint, handicap, inconvenience, nuisance, disadvantage, drawback
    responsibility, obligation, liability
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law A mortgage or other charge on property or assets.
      • ‘At the top of the list is the simple proposition that by adding a reference to the first mortgage as a prior encumbrance the lease was encumbered.’
      • ‘How will such persons be affected by other encumbrances on the same estate, either already in existence or arising after the purchaser has taken his interest?’
      • ‘The mortgage was a prior encumbrance; whatever anybody else wanted to make of the fact, it was there, for all to see.’
      • ‘‘Unencumbered value’ is the amount for which property might reasonably have sold free from encumbrances.’
      • ‘The Treasury will sometimes report gold reserves, but the encumbrances on those reserves are not reported.’
      • ‘By the first sentence of clause 9 the sellers ‘warrant that the vessel, at the time of delivery, is free from all encumbrances, mortgages and maritime liens or any other debts whatsoever’.’
      • ‘The risks of ownership obviously decrease with the amount of recourse which the purchaser has, as against the vendor, in the event that the asset purchased is defective or subject to liens or encumbrances.’
      • ‘The company has satisfactory title to all assets and there are no liens or encumbrances on the company's assets, except for those that are disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.’
      • ‘An issue that can often arise is that of existing rights or encumbrances on the land in question.’
      • ‘The only encumbrance on the property is a mortgage with a balance of about $35,000.’
    2. 1.2archaic A person, especially a child, who is dependent on someone else for support.


Middle English (denoting an encumbered state; formerly also as incumbrance): from Old French encombrance, from encombrer ‘block up’ (see encumber).