stifle

verb
sti·​fle | \ ˈstī-fəl How to pronounce stifle (audio) \
stifled; stifling\ ˈstī-​f(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce stifling (audio) \

Definition of stifle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to withhold from circulation or expression stifled our anger
b : to cut off (the voice, the breath, etc.)
2a(1) : muffle
(2) : smother
b : to kill by depriving of oxygen : suffocate

intransitive verb

: to be or become unable to breathe easily stifling in the heat

stifle

noun

Definition of stifle (Entry 2 of 2)

: the joint next above the hock in the hind leg of a quadruped (such as a horse or dog) corresponding to the human knee — see horse illustration

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from stifle

Verb

stifler \ ˈstī-​f(ə-​)lər How to pronounce stifler (audio) \ noun
stiflingly \ ˈstī-​f(ə-​)liŋ-​lē How to pronounce stiflingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for stifle

Synonyms: Verb

choke, smother, strangle, suffocate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of stifle in a Sentence

Verb

trying to stifle a cry I had to stifle the desire to yell “Stop!”. Students at the school are stifled by the pressure to score high on tests. Too many regulations stifle innovation. something that stifles the growth of the plant I wish we could go outside instead of stifling in this tiny room. He was almost stifled by the smoke.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Making just his third start, Plesac (1-1) settled down after a few anxious innings and stifled the AL East's top team. courant.com, "Santana’s homer powers Indians past Yankees 5-2," 8 June 2019 Their film is frank not only in its portrait of the real-estate pressures that make San Francisco a shorthand for self-stifling unaffordability but in its reports on the habits and moods of the place. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and the Fear of Being Erased," 7 June 2019 When it was released, in 2006, the song stirred controversy because of its message that its listeners should not let apartheid guilt stifle their Afrikaner pride. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 Crowder has gone into overdrive making videos about his impending ban from YouTube at Maza’s hands, warning his millions of subscribers that corporate media is about to crush them and stifle all free speech. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Three ways YouTube could fight harassment," 6 June 2019 All expressed frustration over the weekend that Republicans who control the General Assembly have repeatedly stifled efforts to consider any form of gun control. Washington Post, "Virginia Gov. Northam calls for special session of legislature to take up gun control," 4 June 2019 Pam also realized that a lack of communication between her and her husband stifled her libido even more. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "This Is What It's Like to Experience Low Libido," 29 May 2019 But some warned that the technological focus of Mr. Trump’s proposed tariffs could further split the American and Chinese technology worlds — and, ultimately, stifle innovation. Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, "Xi Jinping Urges Dialogue, Not Confrontation, After Trump Seeks Tariffs," 9 Apr. 2018 Some fear that will stifle participation among various immigrant groups, especially in the aftermath of the administration’s travel ban from Muslim countries that spread fear among Arab Americans. Joseph Gedeon, The Seattle Times, "As census approaches, many Arab Americans feel left out," 14 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The government did not appear to prove its case that a bulked-up AT&T would harm consumers and stifle competition. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, "As Disney Moves Forward With Fox, Comcast Continues Plotting," 20 May 2018 Clyde the Belgian came to Hay Burr Inn with a stifle injury. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Working Small Miracles At Hay Burr Inn Equine Rescue," 19 Sep. 2017 The company created what is called a stifle brace for Fievel, a black Lab mix who suffers from a painful torn ACL. Stacey Delikat, Fox News, "Prosthetic limbs offering pets a new 'leash' on life," 3 July 2017

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

Verb

1513, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2b

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stifle

Verb

alteration of Middle English stuflen

Noun

Middle English

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stifle

Statistics for stifle

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stifle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stifle

stifle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stifle

: to not allow yourself to do or express (something)
: to stop (someone) from doing or expressing something
: to make (something) difficult or impossible

stifle

verb
sti·​fle | \ ˈstī-fəl How to pronounce stifle (audio) \
stifled; stifling

Kids Definition of stifle

1 : to cause or have difficulty in breathing The room was hot and stifling.
2 : to keep in check by effort I had to stifle a laugh.

stifle

noun
sti·​fle | \ ˈstī-fəl How to pronounce stifle (audio) \

Medical Definition of stifle

: the joint next above the hock in the hind leg of a quadruped (as a horse) corresponding to the knee in humans

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on stifle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stifle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stifle

Spanish Central: Translation of stifle

Nglish: Translation of stifle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stifle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stifle

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

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!