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[suhf-uh-keyt] /ˈsʌf əˌkeɪt/
verb (used with object), suffocated, suffocating.
to kill by preventing the access of air to the blood through the lungs or analogous organs, as gills; strangle.
to impede the respiration of.
to discomfort by a lack of fresh or cool air.
to overcome or extinguish; suppress.
verb (used without object), suffocated, suffocating.
to become suffocated; stifle; smother.
to be uncomfortable due to a lack of fresh or cool air.
Origin of suffocate
1520-30; < Latin suffōcātus (past participle of suffōcāre to choke, stifle), equivalent to suf- suf- + -fōc- (combining form of fauc-, stem of faucēs throat) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
suffocatingly, adverb
suffocation, noun
suffocative, adjective
unsuffocated, adjective
unsuffocative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for suffocatingly
Historical Examples
  • suffocatingly dense the throng about this grave, and strangely quiet.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • The temperature of the room seemed to him suffocatingly warm.

    Under Fire Frank A. Munsey
  • The air was breezeless and suffocatingly loaded with that dust not yet deposited.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
  • She had time to notice how suffocatingly dry the other world was.

  • All the windows were open, but yet the hall was suffocatingly close.

    The Walking Delegate Leroy Scott
  • Her heart beat so suffocatingly loud and fast that she could not speak.

    Brooke's Daughter Adeline Sergeant
  • It crept upon him, this death-quiet, seemed to close about him suffocatingly.

    Bred of the Desert Marcus Horton
  • It was a suffocatingly hot night and their foreheads reeked with sweat.

  • The odor that assailed his nostrils reassured him suffocatingly.

    The Lookout Man B. M. Bower
  • The room was suffocatingly hot, and Alexander's head swam, not from wine, but from the intoxication of his son's glory.

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci

    Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky
British Dictionary definitions for suffocatingly


to kill or be killed by the deprivation of oxygen, as by obstruction of the air passage or inhalation of noxious gases
to block the air passages or have the air passages blocked
to feel or cause to feel discomfort from heat and lack of air
Derived Forms
suffocating, adjective
suffocatingly, adverb
suffocation, noun
suffocative, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin suffōcāre, from sub- + faucēs throat
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 suffocatingly



early 15c., from Latin suffocatus, past participle of suffocare (see suffocation). Related: Suffocated; suffocating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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suffocatingly in Medicine

suffocate suf·fo·cate (sŭf'ə-kāt')
v. suf·fo·cat·ed, suf·fo·cat·ing, suf·fo·cates

  1. To impair the respiration of; asphyxiate.

  2. To suffer from lack of oxygen; to be unable to breathe.

suf'fo·ca'tion n.
suf'fo·ca'tive adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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