throt·tle | \ˈthrä-tᵊl \
throttled; throttling\ˈthrät-liŋ, 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, 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

India’s Department of Telecommunications has approved net neutrality rules that ban blocking, throttling, and zero-rating internet data, with some exceptions. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "India just approved net neutrality rules that ban ‘any form’ of data discrimination," 11 July 2018 If so, the economy will throttle back as the tax-cut effect wears out, reversing the yield trend. Phillip Molnar,, "Is a flattening yield curve a sign of a coming recession?," 6 July 2018 Under the new law, ISPs are required to disclose any blocking, throttling or prioritization of their own content or from their partners on customers' broadband connections. Shelby Fleig, USA TODAY, "Net neutrality rules are repealed. Here's what could happen next.," 11 June 2018 Those protections are transparency rules that require ISPs to publicly disclose any blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Ajit Pai says you’re going to love the death of net neutrality," 11 June 2018 After all, the industry’s largest players frequently claim to support rules against blocking, throttling, and discriminating against content. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Your Favorite Websites Are Rallying in a Last-Ditch Effort to Save Net Neutrality," 8 May 2018 An Alaska Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Honolulu, Hawaii, after pilots throttled down one of the plane's engines. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Alaska Airlines makes emergency landing after engine put into idle mid-flight," 29 Apr. 2018 Comcast’s decision to throttle P2P traffic was quite likely motivated by competitive fears—file-sharing was a threat to cable TV, and P2P voice services threatened traditional telephony revenue. David Meyer, Fortune, "Net Neutrality Is Officially Dead in the U.S.—Here's What Happens Next," 11 June 2018 The rules barred them from blocking and throttling websites, or creating fast and slow lanes. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Senate Votes to Reinstate Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules," 16 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Eco mode optimizes powertrain operation to help maximize fuel economy, while Sport mode sharpens shift timing, throttle response, and steering feel, and on models with AWD, alters torque distribution for enhanced agility. Emma Jayne Williams, star-telegram, "Toyota introduces new Adventure modelto the lineup of its 2018 RAV4 crossover," 23 June 2018 And the electronic multiterrain select system will fine-tune throttle and traction for a variety of surfaces, including a mogul mode. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Toyota Land Cruiser: An heirloom original," 30 Mar. 2018 While springtime youth sports in many programs are winding down, the Cooper City Optimist Basketball League is operating at full throttle on the hardwood. Rick Menning,, "Cooper City Optimist basketball fast breaks in popularity among kids," 25 June 2018 Inspired by Lady Gaga, Madonna and Daft Punk, Aquaria sings about latex, corsets, and sports cars in a full-throttle race to the top. Henry Youtt, Billboard, "Aquaria Gears Up for Another Tight Race in Debut Single 'Burn Rubber'," 29 June 2018 That pivot could have worked with the right crew leading this snarling trainwreck, but the sequel's WTF factor and full-throttle action sequences, in spite of their polish and the actors' best efforts, land like a big triceratops turd. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review: This nonsense has gone full Sharknado," 22 June 2018 The woman in the lime green bikini takes out the throttle. Fox News, "Watters' Words: The uncivil left," 1 July 2018 Put up the kickstand and propel the scooter down the street with your foot three times before pushing the throttle on the handlebar to kick on the electric motor. Ethan May, Indianapolis Star, "Here's what you need to know about Bird electric scooters," 21 June 2018 The rental vehicle from AVIS was traveling at about 70 mph when the windshield wipers turned on without warning and the throttle locked into the place, according to a complaint filed by the driver from Olathe, Kansas, with NHTSA. Peter Holley,, "Fiat Chrysler Announces Recall Of Nearly 5 Million US Cars," 25 May 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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Phrases Related to throttle

throttle back

Statistics for throttle

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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)

: 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)

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


throt·tle | \ˈthrä-tᵊl \
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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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).


to teach someone the beliefs of a group

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