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See more synonyms for asphyxiate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), as·phyx·i·at·ed, as·phyx·i·at·ing.
  1. to produce asphyxia in.
  2. to cause to die or lose consciousness by impairing normal breathing, as by gas or other noxious agents; choke; suffocate; smother.
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verb (used without object), as·phyx·i·at·ed, as·phyx·i·at·ing.
  1. to become asphyxiated.
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Origin of asphyxiate

First recorded in 1830–40; asphyxi(a) + -ate1
Related formsas·phyx·i·a·tion, nounas·phyx·i·a·tor, noun
Can be confusedasphyxia asphyxiation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

suffocate, choke, smother, drown, strangle, stifle, strangulate

Examples from the Web for asphyxiate

Historical Examples

  • "To shoot—or poison—or asphyxiate," expounded Glure, warming to his theme.

    Lad: A Dog

    Albert Payson Terhune

  • Its fumes, being heavier than air, penetrate the burrows and promptly poison or asphyxiate all living animals and fleas.


    Thomas Wright Jackson

  • A tablespoonful poured on a cow-chip and rolled down a dog hole will asphyxiate the entire family.

    Bat Wing Bowles

    Dane Coolidge

  • Compression of the vagus nerve may slow the child's pulse and asphyxiate it through lack of oxygen in the blood.

  • When version has been done haste may compress the head in the tight cervix and asphyxiate the child.

British Dictionary definitions for asphyxiate


  1. to cause asphyxia in or undergo asphyxia; smother; suffocate
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Derived Formsasphyxiation, nounasphyxiator, noun
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 asphyxiate


1818, "to suffocate" (someone or something), from asphyxia + -ate (2). Related: Asphyxiated; asphyxiating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

asphyxiate in Medicine


  1. To induce asphyxia.
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Related formsas•phyx′i•ation n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.