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[strang-guh l] /ˈstræŋ gəl/
verb (used with object), strangled, strangling.
to kill by squeezing the throat in order to compress the windpipe and prevent the intake of air, as with the hands or a tightly drawn cord.
to kill by stopping the breath in any manner; choke; stifle; suffocate.
to prevent the continuance, growth, rise, or action of; suppress:
Censorship strangles a free press.
verb (used without object), strangled, strangling.
to be choked, stifled, or suffocated.
Origin of strangle
1250-1300; Middle English strangelen < Old French estrangler < Latin strangulāre < Greek strangalân, derivative of strangálē halter, akin to strangós twisted
Related forms
strangler, noun
stranglingly, adverb
unstrangled, adjective
1. garrote, throttle, choke. 2. smother. 3. check, repress, gag, muzzle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for strangler
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Many times have I travelled in company with just such a promiscuously gathered crowd as the strangler described.

    Tales of Destiny Edmund Mitchell
  • When he pulled on them both, the strangler's cord came away in his hand.

    Planet of the Damned Harry Harrison
  • He had not yet perceived the indelible marks, which the strangler had traced upon his left arm.

  • The first point gained, the strangler could act more freely.

  • The weight swings the cord round and round, while the strangler pulls the other end, and death is inevitable.

    Cord and Creese James de Mille
  • He said two words to the strangler, and drew a revolver from beneath his jacket.

    Jack Haydon's Quest John Finnemore
  • When he pulled on them both the strangler's cord came away in his hand.

    Sense of Obligation Henry Maxwell Dempsey (AKA Harry Harrison)
  • It was the strangler, and he called out a few words to Saya Chone.

    Jack Haydon's Quest John Finnemore
British Dictionary definitions for strangler


a person or thing that strangles
a plant, esp a fig in tropical rain forests, that starts as an epiphyte but sends roots to the ground and eventually forms a tree with many aerial roots, usually killing the host


(transitive) to kill by compressing the windpipe; throttle
(transitive) to prevent or inhibit the growth or development of: to strangle originality
(transitive) to suppress (an utterance) by or as if by swallowing suddenly: to strangle a cry
See also strangles
Word Origin
C13: via Old French, ultimately from Greek strangalē a halter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for strangler



c.1300, from Old French estrangler, from Latin strangulare "to choke, stifle, check, constrain," from Greek strangalan "choke, twist," from strangale "a halter, cord, lace," related to strangos "twisted," from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (see strain (v.)). Related: Strangled; strangling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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strangler in Medicine

strangle stran·gle (strāng'gəl)
v. stran·gled, stran·gling, stran·gles
To compress the trachea so as to prevent sufficient passage of air; suffocate.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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