suf·​fo·​cat·​ing | \ ˈsə-fə-ˌkā-tiŋ How to pronounce suffocating (audio) \

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

The positivity can be suffocating, like the guy who’s always trying to sell wheat germ at the supermarket. Jason Gay, WSJ, "And Now, The Most Unmemorable Moments of 2018," 13 Dec. 2018 But despite the suffocating bombardment of Black Friday promotions, a small-but-growing number of brands aren’t offering deals. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Why some brands aren’t offering Black Friday deals," 23 Nov. 2018 The summit’s real purpose was to stridently promote this new approach to code to the both industry and the press in hopes of terminating the suffocating reign of Microsoft and others. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: Tim O‘Reilly discusses the birth of “open source”," 1 Aug. 2018 An Everglades alligator owes its life to a Florida trapper after it was rescued from the suffocating clutches of a 10-foot python. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Florida man wrangles alligator from 10-foot python's deadly grip in Everglades," 18 June 2018 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

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

7 May 2019

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Time Traveler for suffocating

The first known use of suffocating was in 1604

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More Definitions for suffocating



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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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