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

Heavy-handed tactics like throttling and usage caps would have been blocked by the 2015 net neutrality rules. Karl Bode, The Verge, "How the new AT&T could bully its way to streaming domination," 18 Dec. 2018 The keyboard reliability and throttling issues that plagued earlier iterations of the device have largely been ironed out. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—good tech for the power user in your life," 4 Dec. 2018 That means switching to cleaner cars could throttle the government’s funding stream, further contributing to Costa Rica’s rising deficit. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Costa Rica has an ambitious new climate policy — but no, it’s not banning fossil fuels," 17 July 2018 Transportation officials recommend explaining sounds — engines throttling up for takeoff, the thump of landing gear, the roar of reverse thrusters after touchdown — and that occasional patches of bumpy air are no cause for concern. Kay Manning,, "Considering having a child fly solo? Here's what to know," 29 June 2018 Motoring out to reef netters working the sockeye run near Lummi Island, the crew throttled down and slid alongside the gear operated by fisherman Riley Starks of fish company Lummi Island Wild. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Hand-feeding a wild orca: Inside the practice run to save the ailing killer whale J50," 6 Aug. 2018 His original bill included all the major provisions of the FCC's old rules, which banned broadband providers from blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against lawful content. Klint Finley, WIRED, "California Net Neutrality Bill Was 'Hijacked,' Lawmaker Says," 20 June 2018 That included a throttling back of Instagram’s promotion inside the Facebook app, apparently ordered by Zuckerberg, that dropped weekly referrals significantly by hundreds of thousands of users. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook’s recent ‘bear hug’ of Instagram frustrated its independent founders, leading to their exit," 25 Sep. 2018 For example, Comcast agreed to follow the basic tenets of net neutrality, promising not to block or throttle lawful content, including competitors like Netflix. Klint Finley, WIRED, "The Comcast-NBC Merger Offers Little Guidance for AT&T-Time Warner," 3 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Stone flooring in the kitchen continues the rural charm at full throttle and is another element of bringing outside inspiration to the interior design. Lauren Smith, House Beautiful, "This Converted English Barn Is All About the Ceilings," 12 Aug. 2015 Meanwhile, most major internet providers have promised not to block, throttle, or discriminate against legal content. Klint Finley, WIRED, "The FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Are Dead, but the Fight Isn't," 11 June 2018 He was born with just two settings, full throttle, then sleep. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of President George W. Bush's Eulogy for His Father," 5 Dec. 2018 Uphill in a short passing zone, the car easily overtook everything in front of it with its brilliant throttle response. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "1,160 miles in 11 days: A grand tour with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio," 15 Aug. 2018 The tendency to hold high gears also shows up in lagging downshifts that delay throttle response for passing at highway speeds. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Review: 2019 Jetta is Volkswagen’s best compact sedan," 12 July 2018 The Kona has two driving modes, Normal and Sport; selecting the latter alters shift mapping, throttle response, and steering effort—but not ratio—for a more engaging experience. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2018 Hyundai Kona," 26 Mar. 2018 In first and second gear, the front wheel will rise into the air with liberal throttle application. Nick Goddard, Popular Mechanics, "Road Tested: 2019 Ducati Multistrada Enduro 1260," 24 Oct. 2018 Yesterday, with a full throttle savage attack on the President, Barack's message, obstruct and resist. Fox News, "Judge Jeanine: You're the reason Trump is president, Barack," 8 Sep. 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

18 Jan 2019

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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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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).


to gather or build up little by little

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