\ 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

Nearby, Singapore and Malaysia have both choked in a dense haze all week, with air quality reaching unhealthy levels. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Indonesian forests are burning, and Malaysia and Singapore are choking on the fumes," 11 Sep. 2019 Such a vast eruptive event would have choked the skies with carbon dioxide and other gases that would have dramatically changed Earth’s climate. Victoria Jaggard, National Geographic, "Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?," 31 July 2019 In season three, she was almost choked to death, then had to pull an evil slug out of her own leg, and then went on to battle the Mind Flayer completely on her own. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown Says This "Stranger Things" Scene Was So Intense She Threw Up Afterward," 24 July 2019 And a day later, the unit choked out its last breath of cool air. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Phoenix Family Dollar store without air conditioning for weeks as temps eclipse 110," 17 July 2019 Karen even choked up at the end of the emotional performance. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Little Big Town Caused Controversy With Their Polarizing ACMs Performance," 8 Apr. 2019 The high-rise lands just above my belly button, without space leftover in the back; my thighs and butt, meanwhile, are hugged by the fabric, not choked. Glamour, "These American Eagle Jeans Solve This Annoying Denim Problem for Good," 7 Mar. 2019 Spanking, bondage, choking, being ordered around—all of it turned me on. Rachel Kramer Bussel, SELF, "I Suddenly Stopped Being Kinky and I’m Not Sure Why," 1 Mar. 2019 If the chest doesn't rise with the second breath, the person may be choking. Cliff Kapono,, "Basic CPR and First aid procedures," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Khabib locks in a rear naked choke and gets the submission. Todd Martin, Los Angeles Times, "UFC 242 live updates: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier," 7 Sep. 2019 The island helps control a vital maritime choke-point. The Economist, "A polarising president: Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland," 16 Aug. 2019 Meerschaert also won his previous fight, defeating Trevin Giles at 1:49 of the third round by technical submission via a guillotine choke on Aug. 3 in Newark, New Jersey. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Opponent, date set for Eryk Anders’ next UFC bout," 20 Aug. 2019 Diaz then took Pettis’ back and tried to pull off a pair of chokes while punching him in between. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, "UFC 241: Stipe Miocic knocks out Daniel Cormier to regain heavyweight belt," 17 Aug. 2019 Yet a history of spectacular chokes—and an aging back line means that even Messi may struggle to drag this team beyond the quarterfinals. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "World Cup 2018: A Guide to Every Team," 12 June 2018 Diaz has the back again and looks for the late rear naked choke. Todd Martin, Los Angeles Times, "UFC 241 live updates: Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic," 17 Aug. 2019 Pantaleo was found guilty of using an improper choke-hold but not of intentionally restricting Garner's breathing. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "What can a tiny bone tell us about Jeffrey Epstein's death?," 10 Aug. 2019 Before that, one of the UFC’s most outspoken stars stopped the Irishman in a stunning, come-from-behind submission choke. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, "Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic highlights UFC 241 from Anaheim," 16 Aug. 2019

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

13 Oct 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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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