choke

verb
\ ˈchōk How to pronounce choke (audio) \
choked; choking

Definition of choke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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.
2a : 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.
2a : 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

noun

Definition of choke (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for choke

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Electric cars will choke highways, crowd city streets, and keep the pressure up for more road projects and more parking garages. Carlton Reid, Forbes, "Highway-Auto-Petroleum Complex Will Fight Secretary Pete’s People-First Transport Plans, Say Academics," 6 Apr. 2021 Biden was introduced by Connie Perez-Andreesen, national vice president of the United Farm Workers, who at first was too moved to choke out words. Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times, "Jill Biden visits Delano to meet UFW farmworkers and renew a family history," 31 Mar. 2021 Governments need to keep an accurate count of cases, track where and how a virus is circulating and coordinate a response to choke its spread — or at least slow it down. New York Times, "The City Losing Its Children to H.I.V.," 31 Mar. 2021 During prime import months for holiday toys, USA TODAY found that tens of thousands of shipments reached store shelves and American homes without standard screenings for lead, hazardous chemicals and small parts that can choke toddlers. Brett Murphy, USA TODAY, "Congress adds $50 million for safety checks on toys, imports after USA TODAY exposed COVID-19 lapses," 10 Mar. 2021 The fear is that such waste will choke marine life, hamper boaters and beachgoers and taint drinking water supplies. Anna Buchmann, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Cancel Thanksgiving or pay price by Christmas, health officials warn," 19 Nov. 2020 The attacker gets a grip on the man’s neck and starts to choke him. Jen Spyra, The New Yorker, "The Boyfriend Identity: Part 2," 11 Mar. 2021 Amidst the cacophony, Wanda freaks out and her magic starts to choke all the people around her. Abraham Riesman, Vulture, "WandaVision Finale: Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Sad," 5 Mar. 2021 Farshad wanted to choke him, to squeeze him by the neck until his lips turned blue and his head hung limply by the stump of his neck. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, "2034, Part IV: The Spratly Islands Ambush," 16 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In addition to the Suez Canal, there are three international straits and one other canal that represent the major maritime choke points. James Stavridis, Time, "The Blocked Suez Canal Isn't the Only Waterway the World Should Be Worried About," 29 Mar. 2021 The California Legislature banned police choke holds and mandated investigations into law enforcement shootings. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Biggest Bay Area news stories of 2020? In a year ruled by pandemic, other important narratives broke out," 31 Dec. 2020 As of press time, though, some Series X/S games choke on this Quick Resume feature. Kyle Orland And Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Xbox Series X/S vs. PlayStation 5: Our launch-month verdict," 22 Nov. 2020 Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg has already announced an outright ban on the use of choke holds, like the one applied to the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cleveland Heights continues law enforcement, social justice policy reforms," 10 Aug. 2020 Short barrel, tight choke, sling swivels, and some type of sight makes a turkey gun. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "The 5 Shotguns You Need for North American Wingshooting and Bird Hunting," 6 July 2020 General reform: Minneapolis has banned the use of choke holds, as have Washington, DC, Chicago and Denver -- among other locales. Scottie Andrew And Leah Asmelash, CNN, "The race-related things that have changed since protests began around George Floyd's death," 13 June 2020 Another area of controversy has been the use of choke holds by police, which the bill would ban. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Colorado lawmakers introduce sweeping police reform bill," 3 June 2020 Yet the grand monarch survived the blaze, which also would have cooked off the thick layers of duff that choke seedling growth, offering tiny sequoias a chance to one day touch the sky and survive their own infernos. Thayer Walker, Scientific American, "Are Giant Sequoia Trees Succumbing to Drought?," 29 Dec. 2016

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

See More

First Known Use of choke

Verb

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

Noun

1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for choke

Verb and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about choke

Time Traveler for choke

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for choke

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Choke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/choke. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for choke

choke

verb

English Language Learners Definition of choke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become unable to breathe usually because something gets stuck in your throat or because the air is not good for breathing
: to cause (someone) to stop breathing by squeezing the throat
: to make (someone) unable to breathe in a normal way

choke

noun

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

: a part in a vehicle that controls the flow of air into the engine

choke

verb
\ ˈchōk How to pronounce choke (audio) \
choked; choking

Kids Definition of choke

1 : to keep from breathing in a normal way by cutting off the supply of air Many people were choked by thick smoke.
2 : to have the trachea blocked entirely or partly He nearly choked on a bone.
3 : to slow or prevent the growth or action of The flowers were choked by weeds.
4 : to block by clogging Leaves choked the sewer.
choke down
: to eat with difficulty I choked down a bite.
choke up
: to become too emotional to speak

choke

verb
\ ˈchōk How to pronounce choke (audio) \
choked; choking

Medical Definition of choke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

noun

Medical Definition of choke (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on choke

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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