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

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
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

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 throttler (audio) , ˈthrä-​tᵊl-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for throttle

Synonyms: Verb

choke, garrote (or garotte), strangle, suffocate

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Examples of throttle in a Sentence


He throttled her in a fit of jealous rage. I'm so mad I could throttle her!


When you press a car's accelerator, it opens the throttle, and the car goes faster.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Notre Dame is coming off its first undefeated regular season (12-0) since 2012, when the Irish advanced to the national title game—only to get throttled by Alabama, 42-14. Brian Costa, WSJ, "College Football Playoff: Alabama vs. Oklahoma, Clemson vs. Notre Dame," 2 Dec. 2018 An economic slowdown would likely lead the Fed to throttle back on its rate increases to avoid stifling growth. Martin Crutsinger, Fox News, "Fed watchers seek hints about future rates amid likely hike," 24 Sep. 2018 As companies throttle back spending, though, that becomes harder to do. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Big Oil Is Now Thrifty—but That Comes at a Cost," 13 Nov. 2018 The goal was for the Spectre Folio to run as fast as possible in a high-power state, but without a fan, as well as to eliminate the need for Amber Lake to throttle down to maintain its thermal limits. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "A dream team of Intel engineers helped create HP's tiny Spectre Folio motherboard," 1 Oct. 2018 The only difference is that the speeds are throttled. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Verizon's $40 unlimited Visible service on Android FAQ: What is it and how to switch," 24 Jan. 2019 Yes, the battery-throttling scandal was a huge bummer. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How and When to Buy a Used iPhone to Get the Best Deal," 7 Nov. 2018 Like the former federal law, the new state law applies to home Internet providers and mobile carriers and prohibits blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Trump admin claims Calif. net neutrality law causes “irreparable harm” to US," 1 Oct. 2018 The move comes just a few months after Verizon received heavy criticism for throttling emergency responders’ unlimited plans in California, hindering the firefighters’ ability to provide emergency services and battle the Mendocino wildfires. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Verizon offers emergency first responders discounts on unlimited plans," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Did various combinations of the above at the same time, like running GPU and CPU benchmarks simultaneously or playing World of Warcraft while the test processes were running So did the i9 throttle above and beyond the norm? Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "2018 15-inch MacBook Pro review: Better, faster, stronger?," 24 July 2018 Push the throttle forward and climb out toward Skyline. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Poke a hole in the sky, change your life forever," 17 May 2018 Meanwhile, footwear brands including Christian Louboutin or Jimmy Choo have gone full-throttle with the trend, adding glitzy sequins or bold prints onto heeled styles. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Men In Heels? I Put the Tricky Trend to the Test," 26 Feb. 2019 And with Mars entering your zone of full-throttle, luminous passion this week, you’re being asked to slip into that faux fur once again. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes March 12-March 18," 5 Apr. 2018 This helps clean out carbon deposits that can foul the valves, throttle body, intake manifold, and the combustion chamber itself. Alex Leanse, Popular Mechanics, "4 Unusual Ways to Make Your Car Last Longer," 20 Feb. 2017 That'll have its own set of throttles and perhaps even new blacklists if further problems are detected. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "The Windows 10 October 2018 Update is now fully available—for “advanced” users," 18 Dec. 2018 Frasher told the station one of the pilots was found unconscious leaning against the throttle, and the engine was still running, throwing dirt and dust into the air when rescue personnel arrived. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "Jet crashes in South Carolina after failing to stop on runway, killing at least 2," 28 Sep. 2018 The throttle and gearbox are plenty alert and when commanded the six will quietly pull its heart out. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Mercedes-Benz CLS: A Move Toward Electrification," 3 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for throttle

Last Updated

29 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for throttle

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on throttle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with throttle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for throttle

Spanish Central: Translation of throttle

Nglish: Translation of throttle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of throttle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on throttle

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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