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verb (used with object), stran·gled, stran·gling.
  1. 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.
  2. to kill by stopping the breath in any manner; choke; stifle; suffocate.
  3. to prevent the continuance, growth, rise, or action of; suppress: Censorship strangles a free press.
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verb (used without object), stran·gled, stran·gling.
  1. to be choked, stifled, or suffocated.
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Origin of strangle

1250–1300; Middle English strangelen < Old French estrangler < Latin strangulāre < Greek strangalân, derivative of strangálē halter, akin to strangós twisted
Related formsstran·gler, nounstran·gling·ly, adverbun·stran·gled, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for strangler


  1. a person or thing that strangles
  2. 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
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  1. (tr) to kill by compressing the windpipe; throttle
  2. (tr) to prevent or inhibit the growth or development ofto strangle originality
  3. (tr) to suppress (an utterance) by or as if by swallowing suddenlyto strangle a cry
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

strangler in Medicine


  1. To compress the trachea so as to prevent sufficient passage of air; suffocate.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.