tr.v. cum·bered, cum·ber·ing, cum·bers
1. To weigh down; burden: was cumbered with many duties.
2. To hamper or hinder, as by being in the way: was cumbered with a long poncho.
3. To litter; clutter up: Weeds cumbered the garden paths.
4. Archaic To bother; distress.
A hindrance; an encumbrance.
[Middle English combren, to annoy, from Old French combrer, from combre, hindrance, from Vulgar Latin *comboros, of Celtic origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.