verb (used with object), choked, chok·ing.
verb (used without object), choked, chok·ing.
- to become or cause to become speechless, as from the effect of emotion or stress: She choked up over the sadness of the tale.
- to become too tense or nervous to perform well: Our team began to choke up in the last inning.
Origin of choke
Synonyms for choke
verb (tr, adverb)
Word Origin for choke
c.1300, transitive, "to strangle;" late 14c., "to make to suffocate," of persons as well as swallowed objects, a shortening of acheken (c.1200), from Old English aceocian "to choke, suffocate" (with intensive a-), probably from root of ceoke "jaw, cheek" (see cheek (n.)).
Intransitive sense from c.1400. Meaning "gasp for breath" is from early 15c. Figurative use from c.1400, in early use often with reference to weeds stifling the growth of useful plants (a Biblical image). Meaning "to fail in the clutch" is attested by 1976, American English. Related: Choked; choking. Choke-cherry (1785) supposedly so called for its astringent qualities. Johnson also has choke-pear "Any aspersion or sarcasm, by which another person is put to silence." Choked up "overcome with emotion and unable to speak" is attested by 1896. The baseball batting sense is by 1907.
1560s, "quinsy," from choke (v.). Meaning "action of choking" is from 1839. Meaning "valve which controls air to a carburetor" first recorded 1926.
Block a channel or other passage, as in Vegetation choked up the creek like a dam. [Late 1600s]
Be too emotional or upset to speak, as in She became so emotional about winning that she choked up and was unable to give an interview.
Become too nervous or tense in a critical situation to perform, as in He's fine during practice but in a match he tends to choke up. This usage, also put as to choke alone, is especially common in sports. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]