\ ˈchōk How to pronounce choke (audio) \
choked; choking

Definition of choke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to check or block normal breathing of by compressing or obstructing the trachea or by poisoning or adulterating available air The unwary guard was choked to death by a prisoner.
2a : to check or hinder the growth, development, or activity of The flowers were choked by the weeds.
b : to obstruct by filling up or clogging Leaves choked the drain.
c : to fill completely : jam roads choked with traffic
3 : to enrich the fuel mixture of (a motor) by partially shutting off the air intake of the carburetor
4 : to grip (something, such as a baseball bat) some distance from the end of the handle usually used with up The batter choked up the bat and cut down his swing.

intransitive verb

1 : to become choked in breathing He choked on a bone.
2a : to become obstructed or checked
b : to become or feel constricted (see constrict sense 1) in the throat (as from strong emotion) usually used with up choked up and couldn't finish the speech
3 : to shorten one's grip especially on the handle of a bat usually used with up
4 : to lose one's composure and fail to perform effectively in a critical situation had a chance to win the game but he choked



Definition of choke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 [by folk etymology from artichoke] : the filamentous inedible center of an artichoke flower head broadly : an artichoke flower head
2 : something that obstructs passage or flow: such as
a : a valve for choking (see choke entry 1 sense 3) a gasoline engine
b : a constriction in an outlet (as of an oil well) that restricts flow
d : a constriction (such as a narrowing of the barrel or an attachment) at the muzzle (see muzzle entry 1 sense 3) of a shotgun that serves to limit the spread of shot
3 : the act of choking A few chokes dislodged the food in her throat.

Synonyms for choke

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of choke in a Sentence

Verb Chew your food well so you don't choke. We were choking on fumes. The thick smoke was choking me. The flowers were choked by the weeds.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As the Ukrainian president described this attack, the interpreter grew emotional and began to choke up. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 1 Mar. 2022 The lime and clay destroy the slimy glutinous character of the sewage ‘sludge’ and keep the sewer outlet drain free from the festering and putrefying deposit which otherwise tends to choke it. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, 15 June 2022 Tawainna Anderson said in December 2021, her daughter Nylah was rushed to the hospital after attempting the challenge, which encourages children to choke themselves until passing out. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 13 May 2022 The companies would eventually choke on their greed. Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, 7 July 2022 Rathbun began to choke on his chin strap as Webster pulled at the mask, Rathbun testified. Bygabe Stern, ABC News, 2 May 2022 Nothing gets burned, so nothing goes up a chimney to choke the air. Tim Fitzpatrick, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 May 2022 Poland also pushing its European neighbors to finalize a sixth round of sanctions on Moscow that would include a near-total embargo on Russian oil: the West’s biggest attempt yet to choke funding for the Kremlin’s war industry. Stephen Fidler And Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, 24 May 2022 The Times’ Tom Ball reports Russia has been targeting the city with missile strikes and a naval blockade to choke the port’s exports of Ukrainian grain and wheat. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To call it a choke would be an insult to esophagi everywhere. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2022 Welterweight Vicente Luque won a back-and-forth grappling match with Michael Chiesa in the first round, landing a D’Arce choke moments after nearly being submitted himself. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Aug. 2021 But Pena won the standup battle with Nunes in their first fight before submitting her via rare-naked choke in the second round. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 30 July 2022 Slowly push the choke handle into the run position (fully open). Lexi Whitehead, The Enquirer, 22 June 2022 The water near the shore turns into an inferno of foam so aerated that Jet Skis choke on it. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 Indeed, weekday mornings and midafternoons in the city herald a choke of cars dropping off and picking up students. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Mar. 2022 Ultimately, the dollar is the choke-point that makes U.S. sanctions effective. James T. Areddy, WSJ, 3 May 2022 There was the split finger and the choke change, which helped Trevor Hoffman to the Hall of Fame. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'choke.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of choke


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for choke

Verb and Noun

Middle English, alteration of achoken, from Old English ācēocian, from ā-, perfective prefix + cēoce, cēace jaw, cheek — more at abide, cheek

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Time Traveler for choke

Time Traveler

The first known use of choke was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near choke



choke back

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Statistics for choke

Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Choke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for choke


\ ˈchōk How to pronounce choke (audio) \
choked; choking

Kids Definition of choke

1 : to keep from breathing in a normal way by cutting off the supply of air Many people were choked by thick smoke.
2 : to have the trachea blocked entirely or partly He nearly choked on a bone.
3 : to slow or prevent the growth or action of The flowers were choked by weeds.
4 : to block by clogging Leaves choked the sewer.
choke down
: to eat with difficulty I choked down a bite.
choke up
: to become too emotional to speak


\ ˈchōk How to pronounce choke (audio) \
choked; choking

Medical Definition of choke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to keep from breathing in a normal way by compressing or obstructing the trachea or by poisoning or adulterating available air

intransitive verb

: to have the trachea blocked entirely or partly



Medical Definition of choke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of choking
2 chokes plural : pulmonary manifestations of decompression sickness including shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough used with the

More from Merriam-Webster on choke

Nglish: Translation of choke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of choke for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about choke


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