as·​phyx·​i·​ation | \ as-ˌfik-sē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce asphyxiation (audio) , əs- \

Definition of asphyxiation

: deprivation of oxygen that can result in unconsciousness and often death : an act of asphyxiating a person or animal or a state of asphyxia : suffocation The autopsy showed that the cause of death was asphyxiation. Pliny the Elder did not die of falling pumice, but of asphyxiation, as he breathed noxious fumes from the eruption.— Sidney Perkowitz Asphyxiation at birth caused permanent impairment of his nerve-signaling system …— Ann Geracimos In rats, mice, and rabbits ciguatera poison causes death by asphyxiation.— Kwang-ming Li

Examples of asphyxiation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Reddick was charged after the office of the Portage County Coroner relied upon a deputy Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s autopsy findings that the boy was born alive and died of asphyxiation because of postpartum neglect. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 21 June 2022 That allows someone to breathe better and lessen the chance of asphyxiation. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 June 2022 The cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma and asphyxiation due to an avalanche. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 11 Jan. 2022 In 2020, a facility closed in Michigan after a 16-year-old Cornelius Fredrick was killed by three staff members who sat on his abdomen for ten minutes, resulting in asphyxiation. al, 30 Dec. 2021 The two recalls follow a third recall earlier this month of nearly 500,000 bed rails sold nationwide following two separate reports of asphyxiation deaths involving adult users who became trapped between their bed rails and mattresses. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 23 Dec. 2021 In separate groups, Applewhite and his followers mixed the barbiturate phenobarbital into applesauce and washed it down with a swig of vodka, tying plastic bags over their heads to assure asphyxiation. Mary Ellen Cagnassola,, 26 Mar. 2022 An autopsy concluded that the child likely died of asphyxiation or suffocation, according to court documents. Jordan Meier, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2022 The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide caused by asphyxiation. Christian Martinezstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of asphyxiation

1829, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About asphyxiation

Time Traveler for asphyxiation

Time Traveler

The first known use of asphyxiation was in 1829

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near asphyxiation




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for asphyxiation

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Asphyxiation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on asphyxiation

Nglish: Translation of asphyxiation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asphyxiation for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!