What adjective or noun can be used to describe something carrying more than is recommended?

  • For instance a truck can carry 300 kg. but it's loaded with 310kg. so it's what?

I was thinking of overloaded but it seems really awkward. Some time ago I heard a word like overencumbered or something like that but can't really remember the spelling.


6 Answers 6


"Overloaded" is indeed the most idiomatic expression for this.

Not only is an overloaded truck in violation of numerous state and federal regulations, it is unsafe to operate. As statistics show, year-after-year, overloaded trucks are one of the leading causes of truck-related accidents. The reason is that payloads that are overweight or unbalanced increase the likelihood a driver may lose control of the vehicle. (source)

"Overencumbered" (or simply "encumbered") is more likely to refer to a person or an animal, but it means the same thing.

  • British English perspective - I have never heard of "overencumbered" or "encumbered" in this situation. But +1 for the rest of the answer.
    – AndyT
    Sep 26, 2017 at 9:18
  • @AndyT Actually it seems similar in American English. Encumbered seems most often used in a legal context, e.g. "whether or not the real property is encumbered by a mortgage". I've only heard "encumbered" used to mean "carrying too much stuff" in video games.
    – Andrew
    Sep 26, 2017 at 16:26

Don't overlook the obvious "overweight", especially in contexts where the weight (and not the volume) is the most relevant factor for sizing.

Even though it is very associated with body weight (and health), it gets plenty of use in other contexts, such as transportation. For example, airlines often charge fees for overweight baggage.

  • In the airline case, a very special and different problem is addressed: The baggage is over the assigned per passenger weight. While this is regulated via fees to address additional fuel costs and to avoid the plane actually becoming overloaded - in no way is the aircraft supposed to take off overloaded no matter which fees are paid. Sep 26, 2017 at 6:10


load (someone) with too many things to carry.

"they were overburdened with luggage"


In my view, "overloaded" is the only correct answer to this question given on this page, with the possible exception of "overweight". I would never say a truck is encumbered or overburdened unless I intended to personify the truck. These adjectives simply do not sound correct when applied to something other than a human or animal.


It seems like you are searching for "encumbered":

restrict or burden (someone or something) in such a way that free action or movement is difficult. "She was encumbered by her heavy skirts."

Although a better option in scenario that you have mentioned would be the use of something like overloaded or overburdened.


Overpacked as well

"pack too many items into (a container)."

This also makes clear that it's the truck's cargo that is overloaded, not that the driver is 10kg overweight

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