To encumber is to weigh someone or something down with a physical or psychological burden. You may find yourself encumbered by a heavy backpack or with anxieties. Either way, it's a heavy load to bear!

You can also use encumber to describe something that restricts you in some way: you're so encumbered by your homework load you can’t go to the concert Saturday night. The root, cumber, has several shades of meaning — including "to burden" and "to be overwhelmed."

Definitions of encumber

v hold back

constrain, cumber, restrain
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put a bridle on
keep to the curb
impede the motion of, as with a chain or a burden
fit or restrain with a snaffle
Type of:
bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
place limits on (extent or access)

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