suffocate

verb

suf·​fo·​cate ˈsə-fə-ˌkāt How to pronounce suffocate (audio)
suffocated; suffocating

transitive verb

1
a(1)
: to stop the respiration of (as by strangling or asphyxiation)
(2)
: to deprive of oxygen
b
: to make uncomfortable by want of fresh air
2
: to impede or stop the development of

intransitive verb

1
: to become suffocated:
a(1)
: to die from being unable to breathe
(2)
: to die from lack of oxygen
b
: to be uncomfortable through lack of fresh air
2
: to become checked in development
suffocation noun
suffocative adjective

Examples of suffocate in a Sentence

The poor dog could suffocate in the car on a hot day like this. Don't put your head in a plastic bag—you could suffocate.
Recent Examples on the Web The rural backdrop offered a place for bigotry to fester and for Pearl to feel suffocated by her own religious upbringing, despite dreams of becoming a starlet. Mathew Rodriguez, Them, 5 July 2024 In 2013, Baby Hope was identified as Angelica Castillo, and a cousin, Conrado Juarez, was arrested, authorities accusing him of molesting and suffocating the child. Rocco Parascandola, New York Daily News, 27 June 2024 Kevin Frayer / Getty Images The importance of green space in cities across China has become more apparent in recent decades as rapid urbanization was accompanied by suffocating pollution that in Beijing peaked around 2013. Jennifer Jett, NBC News, 23 June 2024 An Iowa woman who suffocated her stepmother with a pillow and bragged about it on Snapchat was found guilty on Monday, May 20. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for suffocate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'suffocate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin suffōcātus, past participle of suffōcāre "to stifle, choke, deprive of air, squeeze together," from suf-, assimilated form of sub- sub- + -fōcāre, verbal derivative of fauc-, faux (ordinarily in plural faucēs) "upper part of the throat, pharynx, windpipe," of obscure origin

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of suffocate was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near suffocate

Cite this Entry

“Suffocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/suffocate. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

suffocate

verb
suf·​fo·​cate ˈsəf-ə-ˌkāt How to pronounce suffocate (audio)
suffocated; suffocating
1
a
: to stop the breathing of (as by strangling)
b
: to deprive of oxygen
c
: to make uncomfortable by want of fresh air
2
: to become suffocated
especially : to die or suffer from being unable to breathe or from lack of oxygen
suffocation noun

Medical Definition

suffocate

verb
suf·​fo·​cate ˈsəf-ə-ˌkāt How to pronounce suffocate (audio)
suffocated; suffocating

transitive verb

1
: to stop the respiration of (as by strangling or asphyxiation)
2
: to deprive of oxygen

intransitive verb

: to die from being unable to breathe
suffocative adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on suffocate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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