Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

suffocate

play
verb, suf·fo·cate \ˈsə-fə-ˌkāt\

Simple Definition of suffocate

  • : to die because you are unable to breathe

  • : to kill (someone) by making breathing impossible

  • : to be uncomfortable because there is not enough fresh air

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of suffocate

suffocatedsuffocating

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a (1) :  to stop the respiration of (as by strangling or asphyxiation) (2) :  to deprive of oxygenb :  to make uncomfortable by want of fresh air

  3. 2 :  to impede or stop the development of

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to become suffocated:a (1) :  to die from being unable to breathe (2) :  to die from lack of oxygenb :  to be uncomfortable through lack of fresh air

  6. 2 :  to become checked in development

suffocation play \ˌsə-fə-ˈkā-shən\ noun
suffocative play \ˈsə-fə-ˌkā-tiv\ adjective

Examples of suffocate in a sentence

  1. Don't put that pillow over her face—she could suffocate.

  2. The poor dog could suffocate in the car on a hot day like this.

  3. The victims were found suffocated.



Origin of suffocate

Middle English, from Latin suffocatus, past participle of suffocare to choke, stifle, from sub- + fauces throat


First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with suffocate

abdicate, abnegate, abrogate, acclimate, acerbate, acetate, activate, actuate, acylate, adsorbate, advocate, adulate, adumbrate, aggravate, aggregate, agitate, allocate, altercate, ambulate, amputate, animate, annotate, annulate, antedate, antiquate, apartheid, apostate, approbate, arbitrate, arcuate, arrogate, aspirate, auscultate, automate, aviate, bantamweight, Bering Strait, bifurcate, billingsgate, bipinnate, boilerplate, bombinate, brachiate, buffer state, cabinmate, cachinnate, calculate, calibrate, caliphate, candidate, cannulate, cantillate, capitate, captivate, carbonate, carbon-date, carinate, carload rate, castigate, catenate, cavitate, celebrate, cerebrate, chlorinate, circinate, circulate, city-state, client state, cogitate, colligate, collimate, collocate, commentate, commutate, compensate, complicate, concentrate, condensate, confiscate, conglobate, conjugate, consecrate, constellate, consternate, constipate, consummate, contemplate, copperplate, copulate, coronate, correlate, corrugate, coruscate, counterweight, crepitate, criminate, cruciate, cucullate, culminate, cultivate, cumulate, cuneate, cupulate, cuspidate, cyclamate, Davis Strait, deaerate, decimate, decollate, decorate, decussate, defalcate, defecate, deflagrate, dehydrate, delegate, demarcate, demonstrate, denigrate, Denmark Strait, depilate, deviate, deprecate, depredate, derivate, derogate, desecrate, desiccate, designate, desolate, desquamate, detonate, devastate, deviate, digitate, diplomate, discarnate, dislocate, dissertate, dissipate, distillate, divagate, dominate, double date, edentate, educate, elevate, elongate, eluate, emanate, emigrate, emirate, emulate, enervate, ephorate, escalate, estimate, estivate, excavate, exchange rate, exculpate, execrate, expiate, explicate, expurgate, exsiccate, extirpate, extricate, exudate, fabricate, fascinate, fashion plate, featherweight, fecundate, federate, fenestrate, festinate, fibrillate, first estate, flagellate, flocculate, fluctuate, fluoridate, foliate, formulate, fornicate, fourth estate, fractionate, fragmentate, fulminate, fumigate, fustigate, geminate, generate, germinate, glaciate, Golden Gate, graduate, granulate, gratulate, gravitate, heavyweight, hebetate, herniate, hesitate, hibernate, Hudson Strait, hundredweight, hyphenate, ideate, imamate, imbricate, imitate, immigrate, immolate, impetrate, implicate, imprecate, impregnate, incarnate, increate, incubate, inculcate, inculpate, incurvate, indagate, indicate, indurate, infiltrate, in-line skate, in-migrate, innervate, innovate, insensate, inspissate, instigate, insulate, interstate, intestate, intimate, intonate, intraplate, inundate, invocate, iodate, irrigate, irritate, isolate, iterate, jubilate, juniorate, lacerate, laminate, Latinate, laureate, legislate, levigate, levitate, liberate, license plate, liquidate, litigate, littermate, lubricate, macerate, machinate, magistrate, marginate, margravate, marinate, masticate, masturbate, maturate, mediate, medicate, meditate, meliorate, menstruate, microstate, micturate, middleweight, militate, mithridate, mitigate, moderate, modulate, motivate, multistate, mutilate, nation-state, nauseate, navigate, neonate, nictitate, niobate, nominate, numerate, obfuscate, objurgate, obligate, obovate, obviate, on a plate, operate, opiate, orchestrate, ordinate, oscillate, osculate, out-migrate, out-of-date, overstate, overweight, ovulate, paginate, palliate, palpitate, paperweight, patinate, peculate, penetrate, pennyweight, percolate, perennate, perforate, permeate, perpetrate, personate, police state, pollinate, populate, postulate, potentate, predicate, procreate, profligate, promulgate, propagate, prorogate, pullulate, pulmonate, punctuate, quantitate, rabbinate, radiate, real estate, recreate, re-create, reinstate, relegate, relocate, remonstrate, renovate, replicate, reprobate, resonate, retardate, retranslate, roller-skate, roseate, rubricate, ruinate, ruminate, runagate, running mate, rusticate, sagittate, salivate, sanitate, satiate, saturate, scintillate, second-rate, segregate, self-portrait, separate, sequestrate, seriate, sibilate, silver plate, simulate, sinuate, situate, speculate, spoliate, stablemate, starting gate, steady state, stimulate, stipulate, strangulate, stridulate, stylobate, subjugate, sublimate, subrogate, subulate, sultanate, Sunda Strait, supplicate, surrogate, syncopate, syndicate, tablemate, tabulate, target date, terminate, tessellate, tête-à-tête, thirty-eight, titillate, titivate, tolerate, transmigrate, transudate, tribulate, tribunate, trifurcate, trilobate, tripinnate, triplicate, tunicate, turbinate, ulcerate, ululate, umbellate, uncinate, underrate, understate, underweight, undulate, ungulate, urinate, vaccinate, vacillate, validate, valuate, variate, vegetate, venerate, ventilate, vertebrate, vicarate, vindicate, violate, vitiate, water gate, Watergate, welfare state, welterweight


SUFFOCATE Defined for Kids

suffocate

play
verb suf·fo·cate \ˈsə-fə-ˌkāt\

Definition of suffocate for Students

suffocatedsuffocating

  1. 1 :  to kill by stopping the breathing of or by depriving of oxygen to breathe

  2. 2 :  to die from being unable to breathe

  3. 3 :  to be or become choked or smothered <Weeds are suffocating the flowers we planted.>

  4. 4 :  to suffer from lack of fresh air




Medical Dictionary

suffocate

play
verb suf·fo·cate \ˈsəf-ə-ˌkāt\

Medical Definition of suffocate

suffocated; suffocating

  1. 1

  2. transitive verb

  3. :  to stop the respiration of (as by strangling or asphyxiation)

  4. 2:  to deprive of oxygen

  5. intransitive verb

  6. :  to die from being unable to breathe

suffocative \-ˌkāt-iv\play adjective




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up suffocate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to manage or play awkwardly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

reduce soothe disapprove perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ