as·​phyx·​ia | \ as-ˈfik-sē-ə How to pronounce asphyxia (audio) , əs- \

Definition of asphyxia

1 : a lack of oxygen or excess of carbon dioxide in the body that results in unconsciousness and often death and is usually caused by interruption of breathing or inadequate oxygen supply
2 : the state of being stifled or suppressed As a patient in hospital I felt both anguish and asphyxia—the anguish of being confronted with dissolution, and asphyxia because I could not be heard.— Oliver Sacks

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Examples of asphyxia in a Sentence

The cause of death was asphyxia.
Recent Examples on the Web His death was caused by positional asphyxia and has been ruled an accident, Coroner Kara Bettis told The Vail Daily. Madeline Holcombe And Konstantin Toropin, CNN, "Colorado skier dies from asphyxiation by his coat on a chair lift," 18 Feb. 2020 According to court records, Garcia died of asphyxia due to strangulation. Carol Robinson |, al, "Couple gets 35 years in prison for strangling 17-year-old Birmingham girl in Blount County in 2015," 29 Jan. 2020 Rana was arrested a few weeks later after the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office found the infant died from asphyxia by neck compression and ruled the boy’s death a homicide. Elizabeth Zavala,, "Dad who confessed to killing San Antonio infant, then recanted, sentenced," 23 Dec. 2019 The coroner’s office ruled her death a homicide by asphyxia/suffocation, the sheriff’s office said. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Woman arrested in connection to 1996 “Baby Faith” cold case," 5 Nov. 2019 Harley died of compressive asphyxia, the Ottawa County Coroner’s Office said in a news release Tuesday afternoon. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Body believed to be missing Port Clinton boy Harley Dilly found in vacant home, police say," 14 Jan. 2020 The state medical examiner confirmed that Kizer's death was accidental and consistent with mechanical asphyxia, LMPD Maj. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Funeral arrangements set for LMPD tow truck driver who died on the job," 3 Jan. 2020 Died of asphyxia due to strangulation at a Southeast Portland residential mental health treatment center at 14309 S.E. Powell Blvd. oregonlive, "35 homicides in Portland in 2019 involved victims ranging in age from 18 to 65," 1 Jan. 2020 An autopsy later revealed that the cause of death was homicide by asphyxia and suffocation. Helen Murphy,, "Woman Charged with Murder 23 Years After Baby Girl Was Found Dead in a Trash Bag in Colorado," 6 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asphyxia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of asphyxia

1778, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for asphyxia

New Latin, from Greek, stopping of the pulse, from a- + sphyzein to throb

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Time Traveler for asphyxia

Time Traveler

The first known use of asphyxia was in 1778

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Statistics for asphyxia

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Asphyxia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for asphyxia


How to pronounce asphyxia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of asphyxia

medical : the state of not being able to breathe


as·​phyx·​ia | \ as-ˈfik-sē-ə, əs- How to pronounce asphyxia (audio) \

Medical Definition of asphyxia

: a lack of oxygen or excess of carbon dioxide in the body that is usually caused by interruption of breathing and that causes unconsciousness — compare suffocation

Other Words from asphyxia

asphyxial \ -​sē-​əl How to pronounce asphyxial (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on asphyxia

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with asphyxia

Spanish Central: Translation of asphyxia

Nglish: Translation of asphyxia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asphyxia for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about asphyxia

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