What does suffocate mean?

Definitions for suffocate
ˈsʌf əˌkeɪtsuf·fo·cate

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word suffocate.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. smother, asphyxiate, suffocateverb

    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing

    "Othello smothered Desdemona with a pillow"; "The child suffocated herself with a plastic bag that the parents had left on the floor"

  2. suffocate, stifle, asphyxiate, chokeverb

    impair the respiration of or obstruct the air passage of

    "The foul air was slowly suffocating the children"

  3. suffocate, chokeverb

    become stultified, suppressed, or stifled

    "He is suffocating--living at home with his aged parents in the small village"

  4. suffocate, chokeverb

    suppress the development, creativity, or imagination of

    "His job suffocated him"

  5. suffocate, stifle, asphyxiateverb

    be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen

    "The child suffocated under the pillow"

  6. suffocateverb

    feel uncomfortable for lack of fresh air

    "The room was hot and stuffy and we were suffocating"

  7. gag, choke, strangle, suffocateverb

    struggle for breath; have insufficient oxygen intake

    "he swallowed a fishbone and gagged"


  1. suffocateverb

    To suffer, or cause someone to suffer, from severely reduced oxygen intake to the body.

    Open the hatch, he is suffocating in the airlock!

  2. suffocateverb

    To die due to, or kill someone by means of, insufficient oxygen supply to the body.

    He suffocated his wife by holding a pillow over her head.

  3. suffocateverb

    To overwhelm, or be overwhelmed (by a person or issue), as though with oxygen deprivation.

    I'm suffocating under this huge workload.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To SUFFOCATEverb

    To choak by exclusion or interception of air.

    Etymology: suffoquer, Fr. suffoco, Latin.

    Let gallows gape for dog, let man go free,
    And let not hemp his windpipe suffocate. William Shakespeare.

    This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
    Follows the choaking. William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.

    Air but momentally remains in our bodies, only to refrigerate the heart, which being once performed, lest being self-heated again, it should suffocate that part, it hasteth back the same way it passed. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    A swelling discontent is apt to suffocate and strangle without passage. Jeremy Collier, of Friendship.

    All involv’d in smoke, the latent foe
    From every cranny suffocated falls. James Thomson.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Suffocateadjective

    suffocated; choked

  2. Suffocateverb

    to choke or kill by stopping respiration; to stifle; to smother

  3. Suffocateverb

    to destroy; to extinguish; as, to suffocate fire

  4. Suffocateverb

    to become choked, stifled, or smothered

  5. Etymology: [L. suffocatus, p. p. of suffocare to choke; sub under + fauces the throat. Cf. Faucal.]


  1. Suffocate

    "Suffocate" is a track by UK rock band Feeder re-recorded from their 1997 album Polythene, and was released as an in-between single to bridge the gap between the then-current album, and its follow-up Yesterday Went Too Soon. Feeder would later repeat this in-between single process building up to a following album, with "Just a Day" in 2001 and "Shatter" / "Tender" in 2005. The single reached the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 37. The version of "Suffocate" released as a single is a full-band version of the acoustic track from the "Polythene" album, with slightly amended lyrics. The song began life in 1994 as part of the band's demo under the name "Give". At that time the band were called "Real". At the time of its single release, Grant Nicholas said that he wanted to revisit the song. Frontman Grant also once said that "Give" was the song that secured the band's record deal, which in turn was one of the reasons for its inclusion on The Singles.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Suffocate

    suf′ō-kāt, v.t. to choke by stopping the breath: to stifle:—pa.p. suff′ocāted.p.adj. (Shak.) suffocated.—p.adj. Suff′ocāting, choking.—adv. Suff′ocātingly.—n. Suffocā′tion, act of suffocating: state of being suffocated.—adj. Suff′ocātive, tending to suffocate. [L. suffocāre, -ātumsub, under, fauces, the throat.]

Matched Categories

How to pronounce suffocate?

How to say suffocate in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of suffocate in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of suffocate in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of suffocate in a Sentence

  1. Scott C. Holstad:

    spent some time gittin juiced on the junk you know and the poems would come thick and black, coffeelike, a little bitter you know and when the pores started jiving and all it'd be time to git on down and groove, let the words flow forth, try not to suffocate, live one more day.

  2. Viktor Orban:

    We are either going to be successful together, or not at all, we are going to expand the country or we will all suffocate in petty, provincial shoving.

  3. Dmytro Kuleba:

    Economically, because of sanctions that will be slammed on Russia immediately. Militarily, because we are not the country that will give up. This is our land, we will be defending it, you see, [Russia] tried to suffocate us, destabilize us, and shatter us from the inside for the last 300 years. But they failed. I'm still sitting here with you, a foreign minister of independent Ukraine. We know the threat, we understand it, we learned how to live with it, and we stand for a just cause.

  4. Marjan Ghadrdan:

    Animals put their heads in the bags and they can't get them off and suffocate, i always cut my potato chip bags so they're not like a little pocket and they can't get their heads inside. AWARE Wildlife Center's mission.

  5. Michael Grandner:

    A lot of people think sleep apnea will cause them to suffocate, but it won't, you're still getting enough air to breathe --and if not, your brain will wake you up.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for suffocate

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for suffocate »


Find a translation for the suffocate definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"suffocate." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/suffocate>.

Discuss these suffocate definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for suffocate? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    To cause to become
    • A. affront
    • B. abhor
    • C. scarper
    • D. render

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for suffocate: