suffocate

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

Definition of suffocate

transitive verb

1a(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

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Other Words from suffocate

suffocation \ ˌsə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce suffocation (audio) \ noun
suffocative \ ˈsə-​fə-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce suffocative (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for suffocate

Synonyms

choke, smother, stifle, strangle

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Examples of suffocate in a Sentence

Don't put that pillow over her face—she could suffocate. The poor dog could suffocate in the car on a hot day like this. The victims were found suffocated.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The layering of oil would have prevented oxygen from permeating the shells, slowly suffocating the embryos within. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "These tortoise-killing ravens are so smart, scientists must use drones to stop them," 9 June 2019 Churu — home to more than 100,000 people — has been the hottest place in India in recent days, part of a summer heat wave suffocating most of the country as temperatures rise above normal even for this sweltering time of year. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "‘It’s horrid’: India roasts under heat wave with temperatures above 120 degrees," 6 June 2019 Churu – home to more than 100,000 people – has been the hottest place in India in recent days, part of a summer heat wave suffocating most of the country as temperatures rise above normal even for this sweltering time of year. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Northern India roasts as temperature tops 120," 5 June 2019 The museum’s workers union recently released a statement with the headline Le Louvre Suffoque—the Louvre is suffocating.) Coming in second was the National Museum in China, followed by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "These Are the Most Visited Museums in the World," 30 May 2019 Heavy formulas can suffocate and clog pores, which can become a breeding ground for bacteria that leads to breakouts. Diana Nguyen, Harper's BAZAAR, "7 Things You Should Be Doing for a Flawless Complexion," 3 May 2019 Forty-nine workers were suffocated or burned to death within the building. Marlena Scott, Teen Vogue, "Many Women Who Died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 Were Young Immigrants," 25 Mar. 2019 Trump has suffocated traditional conservative ideals. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Paul Ryan wants you to know he has identified what’s wrong with the Republican Party," 17 Dec. 2018 Godoy was shot in the abdomen and foot, and a disposable diaper was shoved in his mouth, apparently to suffocate him, Sinai said. Fabiola Sanchez, The Seattle Times, "Deadly crackdown stokes fear among protesters in Venezuela," 20 Feb. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for suffocate

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

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Dictionary Entries near suffocate

sufflaminate

sufflate

sufflation

suffocate

suffocating

Suffolk

suffr

Statistics for suffocate

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for suffocate

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

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More Definitions for suffocate

suffocate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of suffocate

: to die because you are unable to breathe
: to kill (someone) by making breathing impossible
: to be uncomfortable because there is not enough fresh air

suffocate

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

Kids Definition of suffocate

1 : to kill by stopping the breathing of or by depriving of oxygen to breathe
2 : to die from being unable to breathe
3 : to be or become choked or smothered Weeds are suffocating the flowers we planted.
4 : to suffer from lack of fresh air

suffocate

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

Medical Definition of suffocate

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

Other Words from suffocate

suffocative \ -​ˌkāt-​iv How to pronounce suffocative (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on suffocate

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