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

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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 Greek officials say Suzanne Eaton was suffocated to death and then dumped in the dank, labyrinthine World War II-era bunker. CBS News, "American scientist murdered in Crete suffered a slow death, forensic pathologists say," 12 July 2019 Also in the group are some family members of people who died — including Carmen Berriz, who suffocated in her husband’s arms in a pool at a Santa Rosa vacation rental. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E’s role in the 2017 Tubbs Fire on track for trial in January," 16 Sep. 2019 In addition to the clutch kicking game, the Wolf Pack's defense was suffocating in its first game. Si Wire, SI.com, "Nevada vs. Oregon Live Stream: Watch Online, TV Channel, Start Time," 7 Sep. 2019 High temperatures are now plaguing many countries around the world, including India, which suffered suffocating heat in early June, with temperatures of more than 50°C (122°F). Carine Sebi, Quartz, "How to cool your home without warming the planet," 27 Aug. 2019 As wealthy white residents on Chicago’s North Side stayed in their air-conditioning or fled to summer homes, Helfand said, residents on the South Side were suffocating in their own homes. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, "Heat waves fall hardest on poor and elderly, experts say," 20 July 2019 Death can come to a migrant in many ways—perishing from heatstroke in the Libyan desert, freezing in the mountains of Bulgaria, suffocating in an overstuffed truck in Hungary, or being executed by a smuggler as punishment for moving too slowly. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019 That’s how 14 kids suffocated in Lane or Virginia Maid ceder chests from 1977 to 2015. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "The recalled chests turned into coffins for 14 kids. Millions might still be out there," 12 July 2018 As the summer season officially kicked off Thursday, 16 children nationwide had already died from suffocating in cars this year. Maria Elena Vizcaino, OrlandoSentinel.com, "With the heat index rising, here's how to stay cool this summer," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for suffocate

Last Updated

21 Oct 2019

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
How to pronounce suffocate (audio)

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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