throt·​tle | \ ˈthrä-tᵊl How to pronounce throttle (audio) \
throttled; throttling\ ˈthrät-​liŋ How to pronounce throttle (audio) , ˈthrä-​tᵊl-​iŋ \; throttles

Definition of throttle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to compress the throat of : choke
(2) : to kill by such action
b : to prevent or check expression or activity of : suppress policies that throttle creativity
c US, informal : to defeat easily or completely The Jets went to Miami and throttled the Dolphins.— Judy Battista
2a : to decrease the flow of (something, such as steam or fuel to an engine) by a valve
b : to regulate and especially to reduce the speed of (something, such as an engine) by such means
c : to vary the thrust of (a rocket engine) during flight
3 : to limit or reduce (the bandwidth available to users of an electronic communication system, such as the Internet) : to subject to throttling (see throttling sense 2) The company throttles data access for customers who use a lot of data during moments of network congestion …— Matt Day

intransitive verb

: to throttle something (something, such as an engine) usually used with back or down the pilot throttled back



Definition of throttle (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a valve for regulating the supply of a fluid (such as steam) to an engine especially : the valve controlling the volume of vaporized fuel charge delivered to the cylinders of an internal combustion engine
b : the lever controlling this valve
c : the condition of being throttled
at full throttle
: at full speed the project is proceeding at full throttle

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Other Words from throttle


throttler \ ˈthrät-​lər How to pronounce throttle (audio) , ˈthrä-​tᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for throttle

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of throttle in a Sentence

Noun When you press a car's accelerator, it opens the throttle, and the car goes faster.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But with little inventory on hand and few (or no) backup supply sources, goods makers often have no choice but to throttle back or shut down if something suddenly becomes unavailable. Ethan Karp, Forbes, 17 June 2021 Even the progressives manning the Biden barricades realize this will throttle U.S. competitiveness if other countries don’t impose similar taxes. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 19 May 2021 Defensive end Matt Henningsen feared the worst as stood on the sideline at Michigan Stadium and watched his Wisconsin teammates throttle the Wolverines on Nov. 14. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2021 The 139-page report said Toshiba collaborated with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to throttle Effissimo. Peter Landers, WSJ, 10 June 2021 But those cars aren't street-legal; manufacturers usually throttle luxury sports cars at an arbitrary speed in the interest of safety. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 24 May 2021 The much-faster straight-wing planes had to throttle back considerably to stay with the bombers. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Apr. 2021 Oddly enough, Jang managed to throttle both his former Fuel team and the Paris Eternal core, which is now the heart of the Fuel. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 23 Apr. 2021 The high-efficiency processors give PC makers many more controls to help dial in just the right amount of performance to keep laptops humming, without burning extra power, generating more heat and forcing the system to throttle. Mike Feibus, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Swedish House Mafia has never done anything less than full throttle, and even its last goodbye was outsized. Katie Bain, Billboard, 15 July 2021 Automakers and industry analysts expect the chip shortage to ease and production to resume full throttle during the second half of the year. Robert Channick,, 14 July 2021 Indiana’s offense never went into full throttle, and only held a two-point lead at the half. J.l. Kirven, The Indianapolis Star, 13 July 2021 The speed of the upshifts is excellent, whether on part throttle or under full load, but the dual-clutch gearbox doesn't always live up to the V-6's greatness, with an occasional clunky downshift. Greg Kable, Car and Driver, 8 July 2021 All bikes have pedal assist and electric throttle and can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 17 June 2021 On the 25th lap, Arrow McLaren driver, fellow Swede Felix Rosenqvist violently crashed into the barrier on Turn 6 of the road course at Belle Isle due to throttle issues during the 27th lap of the race. Mia Berry, Detroit Free Press, 12 June 2021 My interstate merges were done full throttle lest I be trampled by a herd of SUVs and semi-trucks. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 12 June 2021 My guess is that your electric throttle module (ETM) is failing. Star Tribune, 4 June 2021

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


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


circa 1547, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for throttle


Middle English throtelen, from throte throat


perhaps from Middle English *throtel, diminutive of throte throat

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Time Traveler for throttle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for throttle

Last Updated

25 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Throttle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for throttle



English Language Learners Definition of throttle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to choke or strangle (someone)
US, informal : to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely
: to not allow (something) to grow or develop



English Language Learners Definition of throttle (Entry 2 of 2)

technical : a device that controls the flow of fuel to an engine


throt·​tle | \ ˈthrä-tᵊl How to pronounce throttle (audio) \
throttled; throttling

Kids Definition of throttle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to strangle or choke (someone)
2 : to reduce the speed of (an engine) by closing the throttle valve



Kids Definition of throttle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a valve or a lever that controls the valve for regulating the flow of steam or fuel in an engine

More from Merriam-Webster on throttle

Nglish: Translation of throttle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of throttle for Arabic Speakers


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