9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 hampering
  • Some are prescriptive, enshrining freedoms, curtailing the powers of the state and generally hampering would-be dictators.
  • The credit crunch has made it harder for firms to get loans, hampering investment.
  • Power cuts plunged the city into darkness, hampering efforts to reclaim the streets.
  • Were deflation to deepen, real interest rates would rise, further hampering economic activity.
  • The government is trying to maintain control without unduly hampering the market's growth.
  • The names of the suspects had already been leaked to the press, thus hampering efforts to successfully prosecute them.
  • Heavy snow was said to have been hampering rescue efforts.
British Dictionary definitions for hampering


(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 hampering



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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