as·​phyx·​i·​ate | \ -sē-ˌāt How to pronounce asphyxiate (audio) \
asphyxiated; asphyxiating

Definition of asphyxiate

transitive verb

: to cause asphyxia in : to kill, suspend animation in, or make unconscious through want of adequate oxygen, presence of noxious agents, or other obstruction to normal breathing The murder victim was asphyxiated.

intransitive verb

: to become asphyxiated … ended in several deaths, including that of a … secretary who asphyxiated during a smoke bombing.— Robert I. Friedman

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Other Words from asphyxiate

asphyxiation \ as-​ˌfik-​sē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce asphyxiation (audio) , əs-​ \ noun

Examples of asphyxiate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The two are famous for their transhuman looks, binding themselves in asphyxiating neck gear or waist-constricting corsets, and wearing $10,000 skin heels. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Watch Fecal Matter’s Extreme, 3-Hour Beauty Routine in 7 Minutes," 28 Mar. 2019 They were all asphyxiated to death in various ways. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "BTK killer Dennis Rader tells all in unheard interview for doc: 'It's a demon that's within me'," 21 Aug. 2018 The young woman, Kennedy abandoned, slowly asphyxiated over a period of hours. Fox News, "Ann Coulter on left's meltdown over Kavanaugh allegation; will Carter Page finally learn why the FBI spied on him?," 19 Sep. 2018 Most recently, five climbers were killed in 2013 when they were asphyxiated by ash near the summit. Jes Aznar And Russell Goldman, New York Times, "A Volcano Known for Its Beauty Is Also a Killer," 25 Jan. 2018 Kyle Plush, 16, was asphyxiated after becoming pinned under the rear bench seat of his Honda Odyssey while reaching behind the seat for his tennis gear. Sharon Coolidge,, "Ohio auditor looking into Cincinnati's spending of 911 money," 25 Apr. 2018 City’s defense was completely exposed by a combination of asphyxiating high pressing and ultra fast transitions, as the trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane tore the City back line to shreds. Juan Pimiento,, "Man City suffer first loss, Real Madrid upset again and the best of the soccer weekend," 14 Jan. 2018 She was found dead on Monday, apparently having asphyxiated after building a small fire inside the hut to keep warm. Bhadra Sharma And Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, "In Rural Nepal, Menstruation Taboo Claims Another Victim," 10 Jan. 2018 The pregnant 16-year-old who died of an apparent suicide Thursday night at the children’s psychiatric center in Middletown had asphyxiated herself, the Department of Children and Families said Tuesday. Josh Kovner,, "Pregnant 16-Year-Old Died Of Asphyxiation At Children's Psychiatric Center, DCF Says," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'asphyxiate.' 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 asphyxiate

1836, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for asphyxiate

see asphyxia

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Statistics for asphyxiate

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for asphyxiate

The first known use of asphyxiate was in 1836

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More Definitions for asphyxiate


as·​phyx·​i·​ate | \ as-ˈfik-sē-ˌāt How to pronounce asphyxiate (audio) \
asphyxiated; asphyxiating

Kids Definition of asphyxiate

: to cause (as a person) to become unconscious or die by cutting off the normal taking in of oxygen whether by blocking breathing or by replacing the oxygen of the air with another gas


as·​phyx·​i·​ate | \ -sē-ˌāt How to pronounce asphyxiate (audio) \
asphyxiated; asphyxiating

Medical Definition of asphyxiate

transitive verb

: to cause asphyxia in also : to kill or make unconscious through inadequate oxygen, presence of noxious agents, or other obstruction to normal breathing

Other Words from asphyxiate

asphyxiation \ -​ˌfik-​sē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce asphyxiation (audio) \ noun
asphyxiator \ -​ˈfik-​sē-​ˌāt-​ər How to pronounce asphyxiator (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on asphyxiate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with asphyxiate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for asphyxiate

Spanish Central: Translation of asphyxiate

Nglish: Translation of asphyxiate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on asphyxiate

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an act or instance of returning to life

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