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

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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 The allegation goes like this: Apple decided to throttle the performance of older iPhones, based on the health of their batteries, to prevent the smartphones from powering down. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Does Apple Owe You $25? Here's How to Check," 15 July 2020 But critics say the administration just wants to throttle any negative revelations. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for June 17: Coronavirus, police, White House, India-China, Apple," 17 June 2020 Washington has pressured its allies to ban Huawei from domestic networks and attempted to throttle Huawei's access to U.S.-components. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "China raises the stakes in defending Huawei in the U.K.," 8 June 2020 But the stalemate has also left North Korea no closer to ending the crippling Western sanctions that continue to throttle its economy. NBC News, "North Korea says it has severed all communication with South Korea," 25 May 2020 Such restrictions have throttled car sales in Louisville and across the country in recent weeks. Alfred Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville car dealers are slashing prices to boost flagging sales amid the pandemic," 28 May 2020 Gardner voted to acquit Trump after his Senate impeachment trial earlier this month, a decision that earned him kudos from Trump but one that Democrats will use to throttle him in his upcoming race. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump bashes Brad Pitt, Joe Biden and polls during Colorado rally," 20 Feb. 2020 The Cavaliers became physical with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, throttling them as Cleveland wiped away its 3-1 deficit to win the championship. Ron Kroichick,, "Memorable moments: Kevin Durant’s 3s kept Cavaliers at bay, lifted Warriors to titles," 28 Dec. 2019 Yet on March 17th China took a dramatic step towards throttling it. The Economist, "China v America Expelling journalists is no way to fight a pandemic," 21 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At full throttle, the car belies its size and weight, pulling through each gear on an unrelenting wave of torque. Barry Winfield, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1994 Bentley Turbo R Brings the Old World into the New," 7 July 2020 Around-town driving is supremely civilized, with finely modulated throttle tip-in and stop-and-go manners. Dan Neil, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2003 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Takes Fast SUVs to New Heights," 2 June 2020 Four fields were going full throttle Monday night, a scene that will likely be repeated for most of the week. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Busy baseball week gets under way at the Ruth Minchen Athletic Complex," 30 June 2020 What really makes the 4Runner feel ancient is its five-speed automatic transmission, which always seems to be in too high of a gear and requires a heavy application of throttle to initiate a kickdown. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture Welcomes the Open Trail," 22 June 2020 During full-throttle acceleration, the 2.0-liter's 71-decibel sound reading is five decibels quieter than the V-6, while both XT5s registered a hushed 68 decibels at a steady 70 mph. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Cadillac XT5 2.0L Makes a Case for the Optional V-6," 17 June 2020 All three had issues that stemmed from the electrical control unit that has direct control over the car’s ignition, injection, turbo and throttle. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Honda drivers' pre-race setback due to social distancing rule that kept engine techs off grid," 9 June 2020 That’s not a lot of power for a vehicle with sporty aspirations, even a small SUV, but the CX-30’s quick throttle response and precise steering invite the driver to apex every corner and dart through gaps in traffic. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Mazda CX-30 is a small SUV you'll love for fun and style and price and practicality," 4 June 2020 That switch automatically pushes up the throttle of the airplane, providing more power to head back into the sky again., "Report: Emirates Pilots Unaware Engines Idle in 2016 Crash," 7 May 2020

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

11 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Throttle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for throttle


How to pronounce throttle (audio)

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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