to lumber vs. saddle


I once heard a Kiwi using the verb "to lumber" in order to describe the fact that the person who was in charge of looking after a cat wasn't the owner, but the owner's parent, because the owner was always traveling so wasn't able to feed her cat. So, regardless of her parent willingness, the cat stays just with her parent. Since it is more common to express the same idea with "to saddle", I wonder if "to lumber" express something more specific rather than "to saddle". Thanks!
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    Senior Member
    American English
    I've been saddled with feeding this animal.
    I've been lumbered with feeding this animal.
    I've been blessed with feeding this animal.

    All correct, but the last is closer to my truth. :)


    Senior Member
    British English
    Both express the idea of burdening someone with an unwanted responsibility or task.

    'saddle' has the sense that this heavy burden rests solely on the person's shoulders.
    'to lumber along' is to move in a slow, heavy, awkward way. Hence, 'to lumber someone with...' has the added sense that the person is weighed down with this burden. Picture a man walking along (=living his normal life) but with a rope over his shoulder, bent forward with the effort as he drags some heavy weight behind him, and you have the sense of 'lumbered with...'

    As you can see from your context, it can also be used in a humorous way, as hyperbole.


    Thanks for the help.
    I took a look and it seems to me that the verb "to lumber with" is expecially used in the financial news.
    es. However, the British economy is now lumbered with high interest rates and a very high level of the pound.
    es. NHS in England lumbered with massive private finance costs.

    Am I right?


    Senior Member
    American English
    While it does appear in financial contexts, it is also used more widely. Here are a few examples I found -- and you probably found -- when looking up lumbered with in Google:

    Royal Australian Navy lumbered with sub-par hardware
    Will Fernando again be lumbered with a burden he can't handle
    Lumbered with a boring name?
    Lumbered with the boss's wife
    Another mug lumbered with slow broadband
    Emap's Moloney lumbered with no-win strategy
    WATCHDOG: Are we lumbered with bad tree law?
    BOPA | Libraries lumbered with outdated books dilapidated furniture
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