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[ham-per] /ˈhæm pər/
verb (used with object)
to hold back; hinder; impede:
A steady rain hampered the progress of the work.
to interfere with; curtail:
The dancers' movements were hampered by their elaborate costumes.
Nautical. gear that, although necessary to the operations of a vessel, is sometimes in the way.
Origin of hamper1
1300-50; Middle English hampren; akin to Old English hamm enclosure, hemm hem1
Related forms
hamperedly, adverb
hamperedness, noun
hamperer, noun
unhampered, adjective
unhampering, adjective
1. obstruct, encumber, trammel, clog. See prevent.
1. further, encourage, facilitate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hampered
  • But the new state's development was hampered by monetary chaos.
  • The country's recovery is greatly hampered by its unsettled political situation.
  • The fossil record is hampered by the fact that bones don't fossilize everywhere.
  • The effort to rebuild has been hampered by the sluggish response of governments to allocate land for development.
  • Right whales are hampered by a relatively low birthrate, and researchers think one cause may be ocean pollution.
  • Congestion not only hampered the visitor experience, it threatened wildlife and vegetation in the canyon.
  • Of course, the ideas cartoonists come up with aren't hampered by the constraints of reality.
  • Many of the logistical problems that had hampered the earliest phase of the response were being resolved.
  • The debate over minimum wage is similarly hampered by people who cling to ideology versus logic.
  • In the end, they may be hampered by having turned away from scholarship too soon.
British Dictionary definitions for hampered


(transitive) to prevent the progress or free movement of
(nautical) gear aboard a vessel that, though essential, is often in the way
Derived Forms
hamperedness, noun
hamperer, noun
Word Origin
C14: of obscure origin; perhaps related to Old English hamm enclosure, hemmhem1


a large basket, usually with a cover
(Brit) such a basket and its contents, usually food
(US) a laundry basket
Word Origin
C14: variant of hanaper
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for hampered



late 14c., hampren "to surround, imprison, confine," also "to pack in a container," of unknown origin, possibly from hamper (n.1), or somehow connected to Middle English hamelian "to maim." Related: Hampered; hampering.


"large basket," early 14c., contraction of Anglo-French hanaper (Anglo-Latin hanepario), from Old French hanepier "case for holding a large goblet or cup;" in medical use "skull," also "helmet; armored leather cap," from hanap "goblet," from Frankish or some other Germanic source (cf. Old Saxon hnapp "cup, bowl;" Old High German hnapf, German Napf, Old English hnæpp). The word also meant (15c.) "the department of Chancery into which fees were paid for sealing and enrolling charters, etc." The first -a- may be a French attempt to render Germanic hn- into an acceptable Romanic form.

1835, "things important for a ship but in the way at certain times" (Klein's definition), from French hamper "to impede." Hence top hamper, originally "upper masts, spars, rigging, etc. of a sailing ship."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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