- 1encumber somebody/something (with something) to make it difficult for somebody to do something or for something to happen The police operation was encumbered by crowds of reporters. The business is encumbered with debt.
- 2encumber somebody/something (with something) to be large and/or heavy and make it difficult for somebody to move The frogmen were encumbered by their diving equipment. Word Origin Middle English (in the sense ‘cause trouble to, entangle’; formerly also as incumber): from Old French encombrer
BrE BrE//ɪnˈkʌmbə(r)//; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈkʌmbər//[usually passive](formal)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they encumber
BrE BrE//ɪnˈkʌmbə(r)//; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈkʌmbər//he / she / it encumbers
BrE BrE//ɪnˈkʌmbəz//; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈkʌmbərz//past simple encumbered
BrE BrE//ɪnˈkʌmbəd//; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈkʌmbərd//past participle encumbered
BrE BrE//ɪnˈkʌmbəd//; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈkʌmbərd//-ing form encumbering
BrE BrE//ɪnˈkʌmbərɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈkʌmbərɪŋ//