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 Floyd, 46, had none of the telltale signs of asphyxiation and had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, Nelson said., "‘I witnessed a murder,’ witness testifies at Derek Chauvin trial," 30 Mar. 2021 Floyd, 46, had none of the telltale signs of asphyxiation and had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, Nelson said. Steve Karnowski And Amy Forliti,, "Derek Chauvin trial: Man who yelled at cop to get off George Floyd’s neck says he called 911 because he ‘witnessed a murder’," 30 Mar. 2021 The Monroe County medical examiner listed the death as a homicide caused by asphyxiation, but cited PCP as a contributing factor. Paul Best, Fox News, "Rochester investigation into Daniel Prude's death faults mayor and other city officials for keeping it secret," 13 Mar. 2021 Prude, 41, died of asphyxiation last March after being restrained by police. Brian Sharp, USA TODAY, "Report blames Rochester, New York, mayor and other officials for keeping Daniel Prude's death a secret," 13 Mar. 2021 According to an assistant Utah medical examiner, while toxicology tests showed the baby had meth in her system, an autopsy could not determine the cause of her death — although death by asphyxiation could not be ruled out. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah woman charged in the death of her 4-month-old daughter," 21 Jan. 2021 The family’s autopsy found Floyd died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression. Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY, "'Reckless disregard for human life' or 'tragic accident'? Derek Chauvin goes on trial, charged with murder of George Floyd.," 5 Mar. 2021 Nurses in Manaus have been quoted in local news reports as saying patients have died of asphyxiation in hospitals due to a lack of oxygen. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, January 20," 20 Jan. 2021 Daniel Prude, 41, died seven days after the incident, according to the medical examiner's report, which attributed his death in part to asphyxiation. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "Black man dies after police cover his head with hood and press his face into the ground while he is naked and handcuffed," 3 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of asphyxiation

1829, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of asphyxiation was in 1829

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Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Asphyxiation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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Nglish: Translation of asphyxiation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of asphyxiation for Arabic Speakers

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