smother

verb
smoth·​er | \ ˈsmə-t͟hər How to pronounce smother (audio) \
smothered; smothering\ ˈsmə-​t͟hə-​riŋ How to pronounce smothering (audio) , ˈsmət͟h-​riŋ \

Definition of smother

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to kill by depriving of air
b : to suppress (a fire) by excluding oxygen
c : to overcome or discomfit through or as if through lack of air
2a : to suppress expression or knowledge of smothered his rage
b : to stop or prevent the growth or activity of smother a child with too much care also : overwhelm
c : to cover thickly : blanket snow smothered the trails
d : to overcome or vanquish quickly or decisively
e : to cause to smolder
3 : to overcome or kill with smoke or fumes
4 : to cook in a covered pan or pot with little liquid over low heat

intransitive verb

: to be overcome or killed through or as if through lack of air

smother

noun

Definition of smother (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : thick stifling smoke or smudge
b : a state of being stifled or suppressed
2 : a dense cloud (as of fog or dust)
3 : a confused multitude of things : welter

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Other Words from smother

Noun

smothery \ ˈsmə-​t͟hə-​rē How to pronounce smothery (audio) , ˈsmət͟h-​rē \ adjective

Synonyms for smother

Synonyms: Verb

choke, stifle, strangle, suffocate

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Examples of smother in a Sentence

Verb

He tried to smother her with a pillow. She smothered the fire with a blanket.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The user would smash the glass into a fire to release flame-smothering chemicals. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Seven Inventions For a Safer Fourth of July," 3 July 2019 Local and international health officials are scrambling to smother a flare-up of Ebola in Uganda, which spread this week from a massive, months-long outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Ebola spreads in Uganda, but not an international emergency, WHO says [Updated]," 14 June 2019 Firefighters pumped over 500 gallons of foam to smother the blaze, authorities said. Houston Chronicle, "FEMA trailer parts destroyed in Liberty County blaze," 7 July 2019 Fish populations simultaneously declined because of the low oxygen levels and a layer of hot water that was hypersalty, which caused it to settle to the bay floor like a warm blanket, smothering sea life. Kate Stein, Scientific American, "Climate Change Throws a Wrench in Everglades Restoration," 21 June 2019 Peele’s movies are anomalies in a movie world regularly smothered by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and superheroics that feel a little less super each year, even when the movies work. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Why moviegoing isn’t dead yet, despite rumors to the contrary," 19 June 2019 The sun is smothered by smoke and everything turns red. The Economist, "What caused Australia’s devastating bushfires?," 15 June 2019 The challenge will be to develop industry-leading self-driving technology without getting smothered by the automakers' bureaucracies. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 O’Hara’s council district includes Leilani Estates, the neighborhood where lava burst through cracks in people’s backyards on May 3, and Kapoho, a beach town smothered by lava. Audrey Mcavoy, The Seattle Times, "Hawaii grapples with lava, hurricane as election nears," 6 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 40-minute mindset, the smother-ous defense, the varied scoring options. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc: Georgia State game was the best and worst of UC basketball," 16 Mar. 2018 Excessive moisture smothers and kills roots, leading to discolored and dying foliage. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Spray or drip irrigation: Which way is best for your garden?," 20 Oct. 2017 Smothers, who lived in the unit block of Osborne Road, was pronounced dead at the scene. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Charges dropped in 2016 Aberdeen double homicide," 25 Aug. 2017 Smothers remains in critical condition at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Firefighters describe critically injured colleague as humble future leader," 10 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'smother.' 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 smother

Verb

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for smother

Noun

Middle English, alteration of smorther, from smoren to smother, from Old English smorian to suffocate; akin to Middle Dutch smoren to suffocate

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Statistics for smother

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for smother

The first known use of smother was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for smother

smother

verb

English Language Learners Definition of smother

: to kill (someone) by covering the face so that breathing is not possible
: to cover (something) in order to keep it from growing or spreading
: to try to keep (something) from happening : to try to stop doing (something)

smother

verb
smoth·​er | \ ˈsmə-t͟hər How to pronounce smother (audio) \
smothered; smothering

Kids Definition of smother

1 : to kill or injure by keeping from getting air or by exposing to smoke or fumes : suffocate
2 : to become suffocated
3 : to keep from growing or developing by or as if by covering smother a fire … anguish smothered her smallest joy.— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising
4 : to keep from happening : suppress I tried to smother a yawn.
5 : to cover thickly The salad was smothered with dressing.

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More from Merriam-Webster on smother

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with smother

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for smother

Spanish Central: Translation of smother

Nglish: Translation of smother for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smother for Arabic Speakers

Comments on smother

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