Pronunciation: (en-kum'bur),[key] —v.t. 1. to impede or hinder; hamper; retard: Red tape encumbers all our attempts at action. 2. to block up or fill with what is obstructive or superfluous: a mind encumbered with trivial and useless information. 3. to burden or weigh down: She was encumbered with a suitcase and several packages. 4. to burden with obligations, debt, etc. Also,incumber.