\ 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



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.

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Synonyms for choke

Synonyms: Verb

garrote (or garotte), strangle, suffocate, throttle

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Examples of choke in a Sentence


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In each case, he was accused of hitting or choking a girlfriend. Dallas News, "As Fort Worth officers arrested murder suspect, victim's son opened fire on him, police say," 6 June 2019 The boy was walking home from Coral Springs High School when at least eight attackers knocked him to the ground then punched, kicked and choked him while someone recorded the beatdown on video with a cellphone. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Three arrested but others sought following teen’s recorded beatdown," 5 June 2019 But throughout the hearing, many of them dabbed their eyes and choked back tears. Mckenna Oxenden,, "Three remaining teens plead guilty in death of Baltimore County police Officer Amy Caprio," 3 June 2019 Even host Alex Trebek got choked up at the end of the episode. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "‘Jeopardy’ pledges to take ‘appropriate’ actions after leak of James Holzhauer’s loss," 4 June 2019 But before the item could be released, a child choked on a similar missile, this one from a Mattel Battlestar Galactica toy. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 2019 President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen got choked up near the end of his remarks and paused briefly to compose himself. Tom Hays, The Seattle Times, "‘Dirty deeds’: Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen gets 3 years in prison," 12 Dec. 2018 Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, who spoke on the record to the magazine, said they had been choked and hit repeatedly by Schneiderman., "New York’s attorney general, backer of #MeToo movement, resigns after women accuse him of abuse," 8 May 2018 History suggests that a cycle of tariffs and retaliations can eventually choke economic growth. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Voters already fear economic pain from Trump's trade war," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thwaites is the choke-point, holding much of the ice sheet in place. Elizabeth Rush, National Geographic, "These women are changing the landscape of Antarctic research," 7 Mar. 2019 The color guard in a parade makes tears roll down my cheeks and of course, videos of servicemen and women coming home and surprising their children is a big-choke-up. Leslie Anne Tarabella,, "Defend yourself with a proper hankie," 4 June 2019 Just remember to slice the artichoke open and remove the choke after it's done cooking. 2. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "The 3 Easiest Ways to Prep and Cook Artichokes," 10 Apr. 2019 The man gets something caught in his throat, chokes and dies. Stephanie Rosenbloom, New York Times, "On Eating Alone in Paris," 30 May 2018 The full-frontal comes to us courtesy of Batman: Damned #1, the first in a new limited series about the coc — *chokes* CAPED crusader. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Thanks, I hate it," 21 Sep. 2018 Lamas throws Bektic down, but Bektic gets up immediately and looks for a choke. Todd Martin,, "Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic live round-by-round coverage," 10 June 2018 Coulter gives his back and De La Rocha looks to lock in a rear naked choke. Todd Martin,, "Rashad Coulter vs. Chris De La Rocha live round-by-round coverage," 10 June 2018 Pettis then grabs a triangle choke, transitions to an arm bar, and gets the submission. Todd Martin,, "Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis live round-by-round coverage," 8 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of choke


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


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

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Dictionary Entries near choke





choke back



Statistics for choke

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for choke

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

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More Definitions for choke



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



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

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


\ 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


\ 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



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on choke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with choke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for choke

Spanish Central: Translation of choke

Nglish: Translation of choke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of choke for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about choke

Comments on choke

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showing courage and determination

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