\ 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

On the way, a crash on the interstate choked traffic to a crawl for 15 minutes. Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, "The (nearly) impossible search for a cheap Bay Area home," 14 July 2019 Since May 2018, when Donald Trump withdrew from an agreement that swapped sanctions relief for limits on Iran’s nuclear programme, his administration has applied ever-harsher measures to choke Iran’s economy. The Economist, "A British warship stops Iran seizing an oil tanker," 11 July 2019 In an interview with MTV News, Zendaya said that she's worried the suit might cause Tom to choke. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Zendaya Said She's Afraid Tom Holland Will Die In His Spider-Man Suit," 2 July 2019 The Commerce Department last month placed Huawei on a blacklist as a national security risk, threatening to choke the Chinese firm by prohibiting U.S. sales of critical chips and other components to Huawei. Don Lee,, "Trump and Xi agree to restart trade talks, put hold on new tariffs," 29 June 2019 For example, at one point Metz says that Baker has one of his officers by the throat and is attempting to choke him, but the video is much too dark to tell if that’s what’s occurring. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, "Editorial: Aurora’s police chief did the right thing releasing video, but questions remain," 26 June 2019 De La Garza contends that, by pleading guilty, Mathews was accepting responsibility for Sherin's death, the result of his inaction when the child began to choke. Lavendrick Smith, Dallas News, "Richardson dad who let 3-year-old Sherin Mathews die 'over milk' gets life in prison," 26 June 2019 Greater Boston’s notorious road congestion threatens to choke the $2.6 billion gambling palace’s success. Shirley Leung,, "The Encore casino has placed a multimillion-dollar bet to get people out of cars," 20 June 2019 Zhang, petite at 5-foot-4, tried to fight back but Christensen proceeded to choke her. Fox News, "Ex-University of Illinois doctoral student killed visiting Chinese scholar, defense admits," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This was supposed to be when France finally cast off all those years of shackles of chokes in big games. Jonathan Tannenwald, Pro Soccer USA, "France laments painful World Cup loss to U.S. on its home soil," 29 June 2019 Here are the engineers, choke setters, hook tenders, fallers, even the lowly, but essential, whistle punks who signal for men to get out of range of the enormous, thrashing logs, great destroyers with diameters greater than a man’s height. Katherine A. Powers, WSJ, "‘Deep River’ Review: In the Heart of the Forest Primeval," 28 June 2019 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

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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Learn More about choke

Dictionary Entries near choke





choke back



Statistics for choke

Last Updated

21 Jul 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

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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