From Middle English combren, borrowed from the second element of Old French encombrer, ultimately from Proto-Celtic *kombereti (“to bring together”), from *kom- + *bereti (“to bear”). Cognate with German kümmern (“to take care of”).
- (transitive, dated) To slow down; to hinder; to burden; to encumber.
- 1825 June 22, [Walter Scott], chapter IV, in Tales of the Crusaders. […], volume I (The Betrothed), Edinburgh: […] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., →OCLC, page 71:
- Wounded and overthrown, the Britons continued their resistance, clung round the legs of the Norman steeds, and cumbered their advance; while their brethren, thrusting with pikes, proved every joint and crevice of the plate and mail, or grappling with the men-at-arms, strove to pull them from their horses by main force, or beat them down with their bills and Welch hooks.
- 1886, Sir Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel. Pub.: Adams & Charles Black, Edinburgh; page 321:
- […] the base villain who murdered this poor defenceless old man, when he had not, by the course of nature, a twelvemonth's life in him, shall not cumber the earth long after him.
- 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, 1st Australian edition, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1962, →OCLC, page 98:
- Moreover, that distinctive hair of hers was screwed up into a tight plait and she carried a heavy basket on her hip and a weighted bucket of oysters in her other hand, which cumbered the grace of her body and turned her into the dull replica of any other peasant creature.
- cumbre (archaic)
- (obsolete) Trouble, distress.
- 1810, The Lady of the Lake, Walter Scott, 3.XVI:
- Fleet foot on the correi, / Sage counsel in cumber, / Red hand in the foray, / How sound is thy slumber!
- Something that encumbers; a hindrance, a burden.
cumber (plural cumbers)
- (colloquial) Clipping of .