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

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 During the interview – and without leaning on his aides for information or stifling their input – Schnurr spoke openly and comfortably about race, expanding his answers to incorporate additional perspective. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "'Racism is a pro-life issue': The Catholic Church's latest response to racism in America," 3 June 2018 But outside of entrepreneurship, going to an office environment that embraces the boys club culture can feel stifling, as well. Jenna Birch, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Secret Code to Success Most Women Don't Even Know Exists," 3 Apr. 2019 The suit was filed by inmate Oberist Saunders, who contended the jail’s mental health unit was stifling hot with little or no air circulation. Bill Rankin, ajc, "Trump packs influential Atlanta court with conservative judges," 6 July 2018 Freshman pitcher Kevin Abel stifled Arkansas with a two-hit complete-game shutout, and Oregon State won Game 3 of the CWS finals 5-0 to clinch the third national championship in program history. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Freshman Kevin Abel pitches Oregon State past Arkansas to win College World Series," 28 June 2018 His home Anarres, while a utopia in the eyes of many who cannot live there, stifles his intellectual freedom. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 An economic slowdown would likely lead the Fed to throttle back on its rate increases to avoid stifling growth. Martin Crutsinger, Fox News, "Fed watchers seek hints about future rates amid likely hike," 24 Sep. 2018 Dylan Mahon reached for the royal’s facial hair as Harry playfully grimaced and Meghan stifled a laugh. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "This Toddler Couldn't Stop Touching Meghan Markle's Hair and Prince Harry Wasn't Having It!," 11 July 2018

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

15 May 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

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!