"large basket," early 14c., hampyre, probably a 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, chalice," from Frankish or some other Germanic source (cognates: Old Saxon hnapp "cup, bowl;" Old High German hnapf, German Napf, Old English hnæpp). The first -a- may be a French attempt to render Germanic hn- into an acceptable Romanic form. The English word also meant "the department of Chancery into which fees were paid for sealing and enrolling charters, etc." (15c.).
"things important for a ship but in the way at certain times" (Klein's definition), 1835, from hamper (n.) "a fetter, shackles," from French hamper "to impede." Hence top hamper, originally "upper masts, spars, rigging, etc. of a sailing ship."
late 14c., hampren "surround, imprison, confine; pack in a container; impede in motion or progress," of uncertain origin; probably from hamper (n.1), unless it is somehow connected to Middle English hamelian "to maim." Related: Hampered; hampering.
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