[ as-fik-see-uh ]
/ æsˈfɪk si ə /

noun Pathology.

the extreme condition caused by lack of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide in the blood, produced by interference with respiration or insufficient oxygen in the air; suffocation.

Nearby words

  1. asphaltum,
  2. aspherical,
  3. aspherical surface,
  4. aspheterism,
  5. asphodel,
  6. asphyxia livida,
  7. asphyxia neonatorum,
  8. asphyxiant,
  9. asphyxiate,
  10. asphyxiation

Origin of asphyxia

1700–10; < New Latin < Greek asphyxía a stopping of the pulse, equivalent to a- a-6 + sphýx(is) pulse + -ia -ia

Related formsas·phyx·i·al, adjective

Can be confusedasphyxia asphyxiation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for asphyxial

British Dictionary definitions for asphyxial


/ (æsˈfɪksɪə) /


lack of oxygen in the blood due to restricted respiration; suffocation. If severe enough and prolonged, it causes death
Derived Formsasphyxial, adjective

Word Origin for asphyxia

C18: from New Latin, from Greek asphuxia a stopping of the pulse, from a- 1 + sphuxis pulse, from sphuzein to throb

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

Word Origin and History for asphyxial



1706, "stoppage of pulse," from Modern Latin, from Greek asphyxia "stopping of the pulse," from a- "not" (see a- (3)) + sphyzein "to throb." The current sense of "suffocation" is from 1778, but it is a "curious infelicity of etymology" [OED] because victims of suffocation have a pulse for some time after breathing has stopped.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for asphyxial


[ ăs-fĭksē-ə ]


A condition in which an extreme decrease in the amount of oxygen in the body accompanied by an increase of carbon dioxide leads to loss of consciousness or death.

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

Science definitions for asphyxial


[ ăs-fĭksē-ə ]

A condition characterized by an extreme decrease in the amount of oxygen in the body accompanied by an increase of carbon dioxide, caused by an an inability to breathe. Asphyxia usually results in loss of consciousness and sometimes death.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.