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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 unhampered
  • The scientist has been thwarted too often in the past by religious dogma and wants to be unhampered.
  • There are principled, moral, and pragmatic libertarian arguments for unregulated markets unhampered by civil-rights laws.
  • In short, a vast explosion of free expression apparently unhampered by copyright.
  • As a result, the photons were able to build up unhampered, until they produced a continuous laser beam.
  • He believed that self-government depended on the free, unhampered pursuit of truth by an informed and involved citizenry.
  • During fishing operations the ability to work deck equipment unhampered is of prime importance.
  • Chain link fencing should be laid out in straight lines to permit unhampered observation.
  • It must be ready for them so that their learning is unhampered and they can try out new skills without fear of mistakes.
  • Mark wants his committed partner to be unhampered in his ability to make medical choices and life decisions on his behalf.
  • Treaties between the two countries recognize existing borders and call for unhampered travel and trade.
British Dictionary definitions for unhampered


allowed to move or progress freely


(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 unhampered

1690s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of hamper (v.).



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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