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 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 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 The six-term senator has supported Walz's use of emergency powers to attempt to throttle the COVID pandemic. Star Tribune, "The sorry state of 'One Minnesota' needs attention from Walz," 12 Dec. 2020 Yet to throttle the Titans, Stefanski sprung an aggressive attack that bucked his team's run-first pattern. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Cleveland Browns have turned former hype into legit substance," 7 Dec. 2020 But economists caution that factories, too, remain at risk from the surge in coronavirus cases, which could throttle demand in coming months. Martin Crutsinger And Paul Wiseman, Star Tribune, "Picture of US economy is worrisome as virus inflicts damage," 25 Nov. 2020 The question now is whether big tax hikes promised by a new administration could throttle that engine. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Joe Biden’s tax plan could take a bite out of some small businesses," 22 Oct. 2020 Vanderbilt at Georgia: Georgia should throttle Vanderbilt but maybe Sarah Fuller will get people to tune in again. John Talty |, al, "Steve Sarkisian could be Saban’s best OC, why Sarah Fuller moment resonated," 29 Nov. 2020 Comcast said these thresholds will not slow down Internet speed — the data limits will not throttle Internet access in any way but will instead result in more charges. Washington Post, "Comcast Internet data limits spark frustration for Northeast customers," 25 Nov. 2020 In such scenarios, the Air would throttle sooner to stay cool. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "“We are giddy”—interviewing Apple about its Mac silicon revolution," 20 Nov. 2020 The four-cylinder responds instantly to throttle inputs and has a swell of 207 pound-feet of torque that peaks at a low 1800 rpm and never seems to taper off. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2006 Honda Civic Si vs. Volkswagen GTI," 18 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While Porsche’s 997 series earned a reputation for everyday drivability, the GT3 RS 4.0 feels quite the opposite—from its hair-trigger throttle response to its short-throw shifter and stiff, grabby clutch. Basem Wasef, Car and Driver, "Driving the 5 Best Porsche 911 GT Cars Ever," 15 Dec. 2020 But a big facility that makes the Covid antibodies at full throttle for about eight months could rack up some 2.5 million doses. Scott Gottlieb, WSJ, "Antibodies as Covid Insurance," 13 Dec. 2020 There has never been anything like it, with scientists collaborating across borders at full throttle—even as political leaders snipe at one another. Robin Marantz Henig, National Geographic, "To end this pandemic, we must trust science," 13 Oct. 2020 President Donald Trump oversaw a full-throttle resumption of federal executions this year after a 17-year pause, carrying out 10 executions even as backing for capital punishment waned. Michael Tarm,, "Federal execution numbers top states’ for 1st time," 16 Dec. 2020 Finally, a class-three e-bike works just like a class-one machine—there’s no throttle—but will boost you up to 28 mph. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "First ride: Harley’s stylish new electric bicycles," 15 Dec. 2020 Just because the UConn women’s team activities may be paused until Dec. 7 doesn’t mean the Huskies can play a game or go full-throttle in practice on Dec. 8. Alexa Philippou,, "What does positive COVID-19 case, 14-day shutdown mean for the UConn women?," 24 Nov. 2020 There was a comic book excess to the term, a full-throttle quality that called for it to be spoken in the ominous tone of a blockbuster movie trailer voice-over. Hermione Hoby, New York Times, "Heated Car Seats Are an Antidote to Our Grief," 17 Nov. 2020 Pedal-down, open-throttle, forward-thrusting, Red Bull America. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Could Biden Blow This Thing?," 30 Oct. 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

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Throttle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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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