choke

1 of 2

verb

choked; choking

transitive verb

1
: to check or block normal breathing of by compressing or obstructing the trachea or by poisoning or adulterating available air
The unwary guard was choked to death by a prisoner.
2
a
: to check or hinder the growth, development, or activity of
The flowers were choked by the weeds.
b
: to obstruct by filling up or clogging
Leaves choked the drain.
c
: to fill completely : jam
roads choked with traffic
3
: to enrich the fuel mixture of (a motor) by partially shutting off the air intake of the carburetor
4
: to grip (something, such as a baseball bat) some distance from the end of the handle
usually used with up
The batter choked up the bat and cut down his swing.

intransitive verb

1
: to become choked in breathing
He choked on a bone.
2
a
: to become obstructed or checked
b
: to become or feel constricted (see constrict sense 1) in the throat (as from strong emotion)
usually used with up
choked up and couldn't finish the speech
3
: to shorten one's grip especially on the handle of a bat
usually used with up
4
: to lose one's composure and fail to perform effectively in a critical situation
had a chance to win the game but he choked

choke

2 of 2

noun

1
[by folk etymology from artichoke] : the filamentous inedible center of an artichoke flower head
broadly : an artichoke flower head
2
: something that obstructs passage or flow: such as
a
: a valve for choking (see choke entry 1 sense 3) a gasoline engine
b
: a constriction in an outlet (as of an oil well) that restricts flow
d
: a constriction (such as a narrowing of the barrel or an attachment) at the muzzle (see muzzle entry 1 sense 3) of a shotgun that serves to limit the spread of shot
3
: the act of choking
A few chokes dislodged the food in her throat.

Examples of choke in a Sentence

Verb Chew your food well so you don't choke. We were choking on fumes. The thick smoke was choking me. The flowers were choked by the weeds.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Further, Iran could choke traffic to the nearby Strait of Hormuz, which could severely crimp global trade. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 2 Apr. 2024 Opt for toys without small pieces, loose magnets, and button batteries, as those all pose a choking hazard or can cause life-threatening injuries if ingested. Maya Polton, Parents, 29 Mar. 2024 Her son is completely dependent on staff to keep him alive: to feed him, clean him after bowel movements, change his catheter and prevent him from choking. ProPublica, 28 Mar. 2024 The tribe will recreate and rehabilitate 41 acres along the Colorado River that have become choked with invasive plants. The Arizona Republic, 21 Mar. 2024 Daniel Penny, the man who choked a homeless man to death last May on a New York City subway car, will stand trial beginning Oct. 8, a judge determined Wednesday. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 20 Mar. 2024 Ryan had already choked on the vomit that was in his throat. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 12 Mar. 2024 Has the aggressor ever choked you or attempted to choke you? Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 7 Mar. 2024 Additionally, watch out for toys with small parts that can be a choking hazard—generally, these toys are labeled 3+, says Morency Goldman. Julie Evans, Parents, 22 Mar. 2024
Noun
Added a water tower near the first point to block sightlines from upper choke positions. Kris Holt, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Additional changes in the third area allow attackers to push through certain chokes more easily. Kris Holt, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Pull the lever if your carburetor doesn't have an automatic choke. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 17 Jan. 2024 Shanahan joined Falcons fans in blaming the offensive coordinator for the greatest choke in Super Bowl history. Terence Moore, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 But the Niners more than facilitated the Honolulu Blue choke job. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 29 Jan. 2024 Danny is famous for its slaps, chokes, and tirades, but underneath the brassy, broken Bronxiness, the play has the smushable underbelly of a baby pit bull. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 14 Nov. 2023 The ensuing choke job brought new meaning to one of Curry’s more memorable celebrations. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Dec. 2023 For a choke, go no tighter than Modified and err on the side of a wider choke—Improved being the ideal constriction. Matthew Every, Field & Stream, 18 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'choke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Middle English, alteration of achoken, from Old English ācēocian, from ā-, perfective prefix + cēoce, cēace jaw, cheek — more at abide, cheek

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of choke was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near choke

Cite this Entry

“Choke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/choke. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

choke

1 of 2 verb
choked; choking
1
: to keep from breathing in a normal way by cutting off the supply of air
choked by smoke
2
: to have the windpipe blocked entirely or partly
choke on a bone
3
: to slow or prevent the growth or action of
choke back tears
4
: to block by clogging
leaves choked the drain
5
: to decrease or shut off the air intake of a carburetor to make the fuel mixture richer
6
: to grip (as a baseball bat) some distance from the end of the handle
usually used with up

choke

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act of choking
2
: a portion of a shotgun bore that narrows toward the muzzle
also : a device attached to the muzzle that narrows the bore
3
: a device for choking a gasoline engine

Medical Definition

choke

1 of 2 verb
choked; choking

transitive verb

: to keep from breathing in a normal way by compressing or obstructing the trachea or by poisoning or adulterating available air

intransitive verb

: to have the trachea blocked entirely or partly

choke

2 of 2 noun
1
: the act of choking
2
chokes plural : pulmonary manifestations of decompression sickness including shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough
used with the

More from Merriam-Webster on choke

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