Definition of encumbrance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈkʌmbr(ə)ns/
Pronunciation: /ɛnˈkʌmbr(ə)ns/


1An impediment or burden: the horse raised its hind leg as if to rid itself of an encumbrance [mass noun]: for parents, childhood is too long a period of encumbrance
More example sentences
  • So the chancellor would be able to govern for at least one whole legislative period unhindered by the encumbrances of federalism.
  • What women need is a little oxygen, a little breathing room, to be without encumbrances and stress.’
  • Money is not a pressing problem; domestic encumbrances remain out of sight.
hindrance, obstruction, obstacle, impediment, restraint, constraint, handicap, inconvenience, nuisance, disadvantage, drawback
archaic cumber
responsibility, obligation, liability;
imposition, burden, weight, load, tax, stress, strain, pressure, trouble, worry;
millstone, albatross, cross to bear
literary trammel
archaic cumber
1.1 Law A mortgage or other claim on property or assets: details of encumbrances on property
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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’.
  • 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.
1.2 archaic 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).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: en|cum¦brance

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