[ suhf-uh-keyt ]
/ ˈsʌf əˌkeɪt /

verb (used with object), suf·fo·cat·ed, suf·fo·cat·ing.

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), suf·fo·cat·ed, suf·fo·cat·ing.

to become suffocated; stifle; smother.
to be uncomfortable due to a lack of fresh or cool air.



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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

OTHER WORDS FROM suffocate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for suffocate

British Dictionary definitions for suffocate

/ (ˈsʌfəˌkeɪt) /


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 of suffocate

suffocating, adjectivesuffocatingly, adverbsuffocation, nounsuffocative, adjective

Word Origin for suffocate

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

Medical definitions for suffocate

[ sŭfə-kāt′ ]


To impair the respiration of; asphyxiate.
To suffer from lack of oxygen; to be unable to breathe.

Other words from suffocate

suf′fo•cation n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.