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

The only difference is that the speeds are throttled. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Verizon's $40 unlimited Visible service on Android FAQ: What is it and how to switch," 24 Jan. 2019 Yes, the battery-throttling scandal was a huge bummer. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How and When to Buy a Used iPhone to Get the Best Deal," 7 Nov. 2018 Like the former federal law, the new state law applies to home Internet providers and mobile carriers and prohibits blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Trump admin claims Calif. net neutrality law causes “irreparable harm” to US," 1 Oct. 2018 The move comes just a few months after Verizon received heavy criticism for throttling emergency responders’ unlimited plans in California, hindering the firefighters’ ability to provide emergency services and battle the Mendocino wildfires. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Verizon offers emergency first responders discounts on unlimited plans," 6 Dec. 2018 Analysts say most wireless carriers throttled back on deep discounts this year, allowing AT&T to improve the performance of its core cellphone business. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "AT&T Plans 3-Tiered WarnerMedia Streaming Service to Take On Netflix," 29 Nov. 2018 But that doesn't mean 5G mobile plans will be free of throttling. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Hate your Comcast broadband? Verizon might sell you 5G home Internet," 5 Oct. 2018 Transitions inside to outside without throttling down. Matt Goul,, "Ronald Jones II, USC RB: 2018 NFL Draft profile (video)," 11 June 2017 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When the driver lifts off the throttle to coast, or even lightly touches the brake pedal, the engine's slowing crankshaft reverses the eTorque system and changes it from an electric motor assisting the engine to a generator spun by the engine. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Ram 1500 eTorque: Why the Electrified Pickup Truck Is Even Better," 19 Sep. 2018 Off-throttle, the exhaust spits and crackles charmingly, if a bit synthetically (engine and exhaust sounds are electronically enhanced through the sound system). Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 BMW X4: Why You Should Skip the Upgrades," 27 July 2018 The e-pedal with Nissan Leaf challenges users to apply one pedal driving by laying off the throttle to brake. Robert Duffer,, "18 things to drive at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show," 10 Feb. 2018 Honda’s four-cylinder VFR1200, for instance, cut the two front cylinders at low-throttle openings to save fuel. Nick Goddard, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the Indian Motorcycles of 2019," 1 Sep. 2018 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

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

15 Feb 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)
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 \
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).


a servile follower or underling

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