encumber

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
  1. verb
    hold back
    synonyms: constrain, cumber, restrain
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    bridle
    put a bridle on
    curb
    keep to the curb
    clog
    impede the motion of, as with a chain or a burden
    snaffle
    fit or restrain with a snaffle
    type of:
    bound, confine, limit, restrain, restrict, throttle, trammel
    place limits on (extent or access)
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week