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

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 Today, the main threat is searing inflation, forcing consumers to tighten their belts and the Federal Reserve to jerk back on its main economic stick — interest rates — in a desperate bid to throttle inflation. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 17 Aug. 2022 One of its main tools to throttle inflation is raising the federal funds rate, which is the rate banks charge each other for overnight loans. Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY, 25 July 2022 A few months later, the Patriots would throttle the Bills by the same score on their way to winning their second Super Bowl. Chad Finn,, 30 Aug. 2022 But after a few minutes, the Flip pulled way back, while the Fold didn't throttle nearly as hard. Sascha Segan, PCMAG, 11 Aug. 2022 If the temperature gets higher than this, Steam Deck may start to throttle performance to protect itself. Jonathan Lee, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 So what’s the lesson here about when to throttle back? Men's Health, 3 Aug. 2022 Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sought Wednesday to reassure the public that the Fed will raise interest rates high and fast enough to quell inflation, without tightening credit so much as to throttle the economy and cause a recession. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 22 June 2022 Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sought Wednesday to reassure the public that the Fed will raise interest rates high and fast enough to quell inflation, without tightening credit so much as to throttle the economy and cause a recession. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 22 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And the Expedition is similarly hushed going down the road, with an interior sound level of 68 decibels at 70 mph and just 74 decibels at wide-open throttle. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 8 Sep. 2022 The e-bike rolls into an uncanny valley, the chasm between a bicycle under my human power and a motorbike piloted directly by a throttle. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 31 Aug. 2022 The term refers to bikes with pedals and any kind of electric motorization — ranging from a mild power boost that kicks in when pedaling to a battery pack and a throttle, the kind commonly used by delivery workers. Ashley Fetters Maloy, Washington Post, 6 Aug. 2022 An airplane appeared above us and the driver, Les Shockley, reached across, pushed down the face shield on my helmet, hit the throttle with his foot and my life would never be the same. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, 6 July 2022 As other travel businesses screeched to a halt, the yachting business kept going at full throttle in Croatia and elsewhere, Mirtič says. Terry Ward, CNN, 10 Aug. 2022 The turbo four's engine sound is electronically enhanced, with opinions divided on how pleasing was the result, which rang our interior sound meter with 73 decibels at wide-open throttle. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 3 Aug. 2022 On the ground, double tapping a button bursts in their throttle direction, performing a quick first person evade. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 While the Colorado won't have a Sport mode, its Tow/Haul, Off-Road, Terrain, and Baja options are tailored for situations where specific throttle control and shifting are required. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, 28 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Throttle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for throttle


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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