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From Latin suffocatus, past participle of suffocare (to choke, stifle), from sub (under) + faux (the upper part of the throat, the pharynx).


suffocate (third-person singular simple present suffocates, present participle suffocating, simple past and past participle suffocated)

  1. (ergative) To suffer, or cause someone to suffer, from severely reduced oxygen intake to the body.
    Open the hatch, he is suffocating in the airlock!
  2. (ergative) To die due to, or kill someone by means of, insufficient oxygen supply to the body.
    He suffocated his wife by holding a pillow over her head.
    • Shakespeare
      Let not hemp his windpipe suffocate.
  3. (ergative, figuratively) To overwhelm, or be overwhelmed (by a person or issue), as though with oxygen deprivation.
    I'm suffocating under this huge workload.
  4. (transitive) To destroy; to extinguish.
    to suffocate fire


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


suffocate (comparative more suffocate, superlative most suffocate)

  1. (obsolete) Suffocated; choked.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)

Further readingEdit