suf·fo·cat·ing | \ˈsə-fə-ˌkā-tiŋ \

Definition of suffocating 

: tending or serving to suffocate or overpower : overwhelming

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Other Words from suffocating

suffocatingly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for suffocating


breathless, close, stifling, stuffy


airy, breezy, unstuffy

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Examples of suffocating in a Sentence

inside the bunker it was suffocating, and some of the men had already passed out

Recent Examples on the Web

France rode a Samuel Umtiti goal off a corner kick and a suffocating midfield and defensive effort to a 1-0 win over Belgium, returning to the World Cup final in search of a second title. Grant Wahl,, "Versatile France Tames Belgium, Grinds Out World Cup Semifinal Win," 10 July 2018 Over this suffocating uniformity, the tree looms like a totem of spiritual rebellion, its spreading branches as threatening to the social order as Inga’s unfettered cruelty. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "Review: An Icelandic Suburb Hides Deep Dysfunction ‘Under the Tree’," 5 July 2018 With summer heat waves out in full force, even the daintiest of summer dresses can feel downright suffocating. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Selena Gomez Nails the Elegant Crop Top," 1 July 2018 Contrast that suffocating pressure with the joy Argentina’s opponents have experienced. Kevin Baxter,, "Lionel Messi needs a World Cup while Iceland is just happy to be playing in one," 14 June 2018 The simple and chic piece, in knee-grazing or maxi length, is a perfectly airy middle ground between the suffocating hotness of jeans, the casual attitude of shorts, and the femininity of a dress. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Forget Jeans or Shorts: The Slip Skirt Is the Best Way to Keep Your Cool in Summer," 19 June 2018 Anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas with suffocating fumes. Maxine Bernstein,, "Manufacturing plant near St. Helens that emitted tons of hazardous ammonia to pay $250,000 fine," 4 June 2018 To be an artist or a creator and not having been able to put an album out is very much suffocating. Chuck Dauphin, Billboard, "Thompson Square Talk 'Masterpiece' & 5-Year Gap Between Albums: 'Some Things Don't Work Out Like You Want'," 5 June 2018 Washington took a 2–1 series lead in Game 3 with a suffocating defensive performance leading to a 3–1 victory, as Braden Holtby turned back 21 Golden Knights shot attempts. Scooby Axson,, "How to Watch Golden Knights vs. Capitals Stanley Cup Final Game 4: Live Stream, TV Channel," 4 June 2018

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

1604, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for suffocating

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for suffocating

The first known use of suffocating was in 1604

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English Language Learners Definition of suffocating

: very unpleasant or uncomfortable because there is not enough fresh air

—used to describe something that makes it difficult to act freely

—used to describe something that makes you very uncomfortable

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Comments on suffocating

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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