throt·​tle | \ ˈthrä-tᵊl How to pronounce throttle (audio) \
throttled; throttling\ ˈthrät-​liŋ How to pronounce throttling (audio) , ˈthrä-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of throttle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to compress the throat of : choke
(2) : to kill by such action
b : to prevent or check expression or activity of : suppress policies that throttle creativity
2a : to decrease the flow of (something, such as steam or fuel to an engine) by a valve
b : to regulate and especially to reduce the speed of (something, such as an engine) by such means
c : to vary the thrust of (a rocket engine) during flight

intransitive verb

: to throttle something (something, such as an engine) usually used with back or down the pilot throttled back



Definition of throttle (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a valve for regulating the supply of a fluid (such as steam) to an engine especially : the valve controlling the volume of vaporized fuel charge delivered to the cylinders of an internal combustion engine
b : the lever controlling this valve
c : the condition of being throttled
at full throttle
: at full speed the project is proceeding at full throttle

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Other Words from throttle


throttler \ ˈthrät-​lər How to pronounce throttler (audio) , ˈthrä-​tᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for throttle

Synonyms: Verb

choke, garrote (or garotte), strangle, suffocate

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Examples of throttle in a Sentence


He throttled her in a fit of jealous rage. I'm so mad I could throttle her!


When you press a car's accelerator, it opens the throttle, and the car goes faster.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This has led to much conspiratorial thinking that liberal-leaning Silicon Valley is throttling their access in an effort to tip the scales of democracy. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The White House social media summit was full of hypocrisy — and comedy," 12 July 2019 For years, Republican leaders have throttled gun control bills in small committees, preventing them from being widely debated. Washington Post, "Northam proposes gun-control bills for Tuesday’s General Assembly session," 3 July 2019 Typically, the engines run at full power during the 20 minutes of take-off and climb, and are then throttled back for the cruise and descent. The Economist, "Hybrid airliners could come to dominate the skies," 28 June 2019 Could the Americans have throttled back after the seventh goal? Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US women did what was necessary in 13-0 blowout of Thailand," 31 May 2019 Perhaps the Warriors’ most consistent player, he was adept at making the right play, throttling his offense up or down depending on the situation. Connor Letourneau,, "Kevin Durant: How Warriors star handled being center of NBA’s biggest story," 25 June 2019 Notre Dame got its revenge last season, first triumphing over Louisville in a tight, foul-laden contest in South Bend, and later throttling the Cards by 20 points in the 2019 ACC championship game. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville women's basketball to renew rivalry with Notre Dame at Yum Center in 2019-20," 24 June 2019 The battery technology also played a role in Apple's performance throttling and unintended shutdown controversy on iPhones in recent years. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple introduces a recall program for some MacBook Pro laptops with faulty batteries," 20 June 2019 The Costa Ricans, which also featured FC Cincinnati captain Kendall Waston, throttled Nicaragua 4-0 in Group B action. Patrick Brennan,, "FC Cincinnati's Allan Cruz scores in Costa Rica's Gold Cup win," 16 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The idea is that all the boats are making headway speed when the flagger on the pace boat signals that the race is on, prompting everyone to jam their throttles and speed back to the mouth of the harbor. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Lobstermen Go Racing," 30 June 2019 With two more riders to go, Bruynseels and his athletic mare went full throttle, charging at the last vertical to take the lead by 1.28 seconds. Danielle Rossingh, CNN, "Niels Bruynseels clinches first Global Champions win in Cannes," 9 June 2019 Andersen recommends warming up the lower muscles with squats and low-intensity walking up and down before going full throttle on a step workout. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stepping up your training can boost your heart, lower-body muscles," 11 July 2018 Porsche has mated that new engine to an undated version of its eight-speed automatic transmission, fitted with paddle shifters, that the company boasts will offer quicker shifting and better throttle response. Charles Fleming,, "Porsche’s 2019 Cayenne Turbo can haul your groceries from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds," 21 June 2019 Finally, Corsa is track mode, offering the firmest suspension, the most direct steering, and the quickest throttle response. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The Lamborghini Huracán Evo is actually proof of intelligent design," 7 June 2019 This full-throttle ferocity also made its way onto the runways. Vogue, "the Animal Prints," 16 Mar. 2019 All modern performance cars manage these variables, but this does it particularly well, requiring fewer steering, throttle, and braking corrections from its human. Eric Adams, WIRED, "Lamborghini’s Huracán EVO Sees the Future—And Makes You Look Great," 15 June 2019 Even the standard Boxster makes a compelling case, with preternatural chassis balance and honed optimization of throttle and steering. Car and Driver, "2019 10Best Cars," 28 Nov. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)


circa 1547, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for throttle


Middle English throtelen, from throte throat


perhaps from Middle English *throtel, diminutive of throte throat

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Statistics for throttle

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for throttle

The first known use of throttle was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for throttle



English Language Learners Definition of throttle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to choke or strangle (someone)
US, informal : to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely
: to not allow (something) to grow or develop



English Language Learners Definition of throttle (Entry 2 of 2)

technical : a device that controls the flow of fuel to an engine


throt·​tle | \ ˈthrä-tᵊl How to pronounce throttle (audio) \
throttled; throttling

Kids Definition of throttle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to strangle or choke (someone)
2 : to reduce the speed of (an engine) by closing the throttle valve



Kids Definition of throttle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a valve or a lever that controls the valve for regulating the flow of steam or fuel in an engine

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More from Merriam-Webster on throttle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with throttle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for throttle

Spanish Central: Translation of throttle

Nglish: Translation of throttle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of throttle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on throttle

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


to complain fretfully

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